Kindly Unfriend Me to My Face

Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Riaz Patel

About a week ago I was "unfriended" by someone on Facebook. Since then, I have spent many nights wandering around my kitchen at 3 am. And as I poured yet another bowl of cereal by the light of the refrigerator, I asked myself: was I a truly good person? If so, why was I so easily disposable? Perhaps I was completely unaware of aspects of myself that are deeply objectionable to those who know me.

To be clear, I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook. In fact, I often forget to look at it for days on end. Which is all to say, the “minus one” in the Friend tally wasn't an ego hit. It was a heart-directed strike.

Because this wasn’t just a friend on Facebook. This was an actual Friend. Capital “F.” For well over a decade.

We’d met through work ages ago and had immediately taken a profound liking to one another. And as we built our careers, we’d always make it a point to celebrate our successes together as well as offer support during those times when Hollywood can leave you flat on your back and feeling alone. Since 2011 we’d regularly volunteered side-by-side at a domestic violence shelter and those experiences, in particular, became the basis of an even deeper friendship. We were so close, in fact, that as recently as this past May she was the “you-just-brought-your-baby-home-and-I-can’t-wait-to-meet-her-so-I’m-heading-over” kind of friend. I’m actually looking at the photo as I type.

So when that kind of friend decides they don’t even want to passively see or hear about your existence, it definitely stings.

In hindsight, I have to say I appreciate the sensitivity built into the overall design of Facebook that it does not announce or highlight each time a person drops you from their world of awareness. It saves us all a lot of exactly this particular brand of pain. So how did I know I had been disposed of, you may ask?

By fate. I happened to run into a mutual friend at a party last week. And we had spent hours chatting before she felt quite comfortable enough to ask about the "blow-up." Whatever argument had erupted between the two of us, she hypothesized, must have been fiery enough to incinerate a friendship of that many years. As she spoke her eyes were brimming with truly empathic tears as she noted that these were dark days, indeed.

My eyes, in contrast, were as wide as dinner plates as I asked what on earth she was talking about. The friend she was referring to and I had just texted a few weeks prior, I stammered as I fumbled for my phone to show her the actual last exchange. The very last word being “Adorableness!” referring to a recent photo of my daughter. There had to be some misunderstanding.

So, I checked my Friend list on Facebook right then and there: Gone. I checked the other forms of social media we had used for years to follow one another in our busy lives: no trace of her. I was stunned. I remember feeling very sick, very quickly.

She had vanished from my life. Why?

I came to find out it was because I was talking to someone from waaaay over on the "other side." A new friend named "Glenn."

Someone she thinks she knows from his reputation in media. Someone whose value system she thinks is flawed. And someone whom she thinks believes in things that she doesn’t.

But here’s what is so strange: she never asked me if I agreed with these so-called “beliefs” of his. She never even asked me to discuss the thing, in particular, that so bothered her. And here’s the kicking-est kicker off all: I don’t even know what the “thing” was.

Why? Because she never told me. She just silently opted out of my life and I was only just accidentally finding out.

Think for a minute if there existed a type of magical scale that could somehow accurately measure the weight and importance of all the experiences we have in life. On one side of that scale, I would put all the weddings, birthdays, game nights, work successes, inspirational conversations that I had shared with this friend of mine, including the time we had spent with one another’s children. I would happily watch the scales tip heavily and fully to that one side in celebration of all that we had shared together in our common history as friends.

And then I would watch --- in shock, horror and disbelief --- as all that was reversed, and the scales shifted decidedly and definitely in the opposite direction because of the weight of one silent disagreement, the specifics of which I will never know because she never offered me the dignity of a conversation.

As a result, I have spent night after night down a rabbit hole of self-doubt because one of my dearest friends didn’t think me worthy of a little guidance in understanding something about which she obviously felt so strongly. Fueled by Raisin Bran and worry, I have been flinging metaphorical fistfuls of hay in the air, searching all over for that pesky “needle” of a mistake I may have made. Five cereal boxes down, and I still don’t have an answer.

So why write this piece about a friendship that no longer exists and about a question to which I may never know the answer? Since I have been cut out of her life entirely --- as have almost all of our common friends --- it’s not because I harbor hopes of her one day reading this. In fact, I’m not writing it for her, at all. Here’s to whom I am writing it:

  • Anyone who has done the same on Facebook
  • Anyone whose recent Superbowl party had similar absences
  • Anyone who has been avoiding “that cousin” at Thanksgiving
  • Anyone mourning a time when personal relationships weren’t "collateral damage" in elections and politics

 

Because the worst feeling of all was that, in her eyes --- eyes that have seen me for a decade --- I wasn’t even worthy of a teachable moment. So here’s what I believe with all my heart and why I am writing this:

Whether you are a Trump-voting coal miner in Charleston, WV (where I lived as a baby) or a newly-energized liberal activist in Los Angeles (where I live now) I believe everyone deserves the opportunity and the dignity to teach and be taught. A moment to say: “This is what you may not know about my life. This is what I’d like you to understand.”

And all the person on the other side has to say is... absolutely nothing. To try not to focus on what they are saying, but the way they are saying it. are they saying it? Are they hurt? Or angry? Do they feel powerless? Or afraid? If so, about what? Those should be your follow-up questions, not the legitimacy of their "Alternative Facts." We need to dignify one another’s humanity enough to humble ourselves and actually have the conversations, even if they are uncomfortable.

I’m not saying look away from politics and all that matter to you and your family --- but I am saying don’t forget to also look toward those who are standing right next to you and what matters to their family.

I believe dark days can and will turn into pitch black nights when they lose any light of hope. But as bad as things seems now --- like that painful feeling of having lost an old friend --- they cannot get worse if we simply do not let them.

Who will be Kamala Harris' VP pick?

JIM WATSON / Contributor, Chris duMond / Stringer, Justin Sullivan / Staff | Getty Images

Over the weekend, President Joe Biden officially dropped out of the 2024 presidential election and put forward his endorsement behind his Vice President Kamala Harris.

Glenn recently predicted that Biden would step down due to the mountain of pressure within his party to do so. But now that we are here we are faced with an all-new line of questions, like, who will be the candidate on the Democratic ticket? Who will be their pick for vice president?

As of now, the answer to the first question seems to be Kamala Harris, who received the support of the president and several prominent democrats. It's still too early to call for certain, and Glenn doesn't think it's likely, but assuming Kamala becomes the Democrat nominee, who will her VP pick be? There are endless possible options, but there are a 5 big names that could prove beneficial to Harris' campaign:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Bill Pugliano / Stringer | Getty Images

Governor Newsom has spiked in popularity within his party since his taking office in 2019 due to his scathing criticisms of President Trump and other Republicans. Newsom has been a popular contender as a possible Biden replacement, and a future presidential bid seems likely.

His widespread recognition may be a boon to Kamala's ticket, but the California governor comes with a dark side. Newsom was famously nearly recalled as Governor in 2021, hanging on to his office by a narrow margin. He also faced criticism for his hypocrisy during the COVID lockdowns, attending large gatherings while the rest of his state was locked inside. There's also the issue that both Newsom and Kamala are from California, meaning that if they were to appear on the same ticket, that ticket would lack geographical balance and would potentially lead to a Constitutional issue that would force the duo to forfeit all 54 of the states' Electoral College votes.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro

Tom Williams / Contributor | Getty Images

Another prominent Democrat Governor, Josh Shapiro has also been floated as a potential VP pick. Governor Shapiro has become a viable pick due to his well-received performance as Pennslyvania's Governor. The governor has good support within the swing state due to his handling of the I-95 bridge collapse, the train derailment in East Palestine, which had effects on his state, and the assassination attempt on the former president last week. Shapiro would bring much-needed support from the swing state if he was put on the ticket.

That being said, Shapiro has little time to build nationwide name recognition before the DNC in August and the November election. This would be Shapiro's debut on the national stage, and he would find himself in the most unforgiving situation possible.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

FREDERIC J. BROWN / Contributor | Getty Images

Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and opponent of Biden during the 2020 Democratic primaries, "Mayor Pete's" name recognition might be what Kamala needs on her presidential ticket. Buttigieg rose to popularity during the 2020 election due to his youth and status as "openly gay." Buttigieg has served as the Secretary of Transportation during the Biden administration for the past four years and has formally endorsed Harris.

Nevertheless, Buttigieg has some dark spots on his resume. The East Palestine train derailment disaster has besmirched his reputation as Secretary of Transportation. And while his youth may work in his favor when compared to the other elderly members of our federal government, it also means Buttigieg lacks the experience and prestige that other politicians enjoy.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Noam Galai / Stringer | Getty Images

Yet another governor of a crucial swing state, Whitmer was elected in 2018, two years after President Trump was elected, helping secure the state for the Democrats. Whitmer is known for her strong opposition to Trump, both during his presidency and his reelection campaign. Whitmer serves as co-chair for the Biden-Harris campaign and as vice chairperson of the DNC, which gives her influence over the Democratic party, something that would come in handy as a Vice President. Gov. Whitmer also established the Fight Like Hell PAC, which is dedicated to helping Democrats get elected and to stopping Trump by any means.

On the other hand, in a statement following Biden's resignation from the election, Governor Whitmer stated that her role “will remain the same.” It is also worth noting that if she were to be chosen as Kamala's VP, that would make their ticket all-female, which may foster some "woke points," but is politically risky.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

Lexington Herald-Leader / Contributor | Getty Images

Andy Bashear has seemingly beaten the odds twice, having been elected and reelected as the Governor of Kentucky, despite the deep-red nature of the state. Beshear, who has moderate tendencies, would be a boon to the Harris campaign as he has a track record of reaching rural, typically conservative regions where Democrats tend to struggle. He is also known for his propensity to talk about his Christian faith and willingness to work with Republicans, which are traits that might help win over moderates.

But, like Gov. Shapiro, Bashear has very little time to whip up national support and recognition. He also is unlikely to be very much help for the Harris campaign in winning over important swing states.

Five times Glenn had J.D. Vance on his show and where he stands on key issues

CHANDAN KHANNAMANDEL NGAN / Contributor | Getty Images

We finally have an answer to the long-awaited question of who Trump will pick for his running mate, and it's none other than Ohio Senator and friend of the show, J.D. Vance. At the RNC in Milwaukee, Trump officially accepted the party's nomination as the Republican candidate and announced J.D. Vance as his running mate.

Glenn has had Senator Vance on the show several times to discuss everything from DEI to the Southern Border. If you are looking to familiarize yourself with the next potential Vice President, look no further, here are five conversations Glenn had with Trump's VP pick:

Why Biden Won't Stop "Racist" Government DEI Programs, But Trump Would

How Trump’s Trials Could HELP Him in the 2024 Election

Could THIS new Senate bill DOOM a Trump presidency?

MIDTERM UPDATE: What Republicans must do to WIN BACK the Senate

'Greatest risk of a terrorist attack in 20 years': Senator SLAMS 'atrocious' Biden move


How RFK's example can help our nation in the wake of Trump's attack

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How did you feel last Saturday when you heard the news that a former president of the United States narrowly avoided an assassin's bullet by a mere few inches? Were you angry at the media for their constant demonization of Trump and his conservative contingency? Did you blame the left for curating a political climate that fostered an assassination attempt?

In his immediate reaction to the news, Glenn pointed us back to a similar moment in American history: April 4th, 1968—the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

"The best speech I've ever heard given was by RFK Sr. on the day Martin Luther King was killed" - Glenn

Robert F. Kennedy, the father of current independent presidential candidate RFK Jr., was en route to Indianapolis when he heard the terrible news. His security team, expecting violent outrage across the country, asked RFK Sr. to turn around and head back to safety. But as Glenn said, RFK Sr. believed in the good in people and demanded to give his speech. He arrived in Indianapolis Park late in the day, and he addressed the crowd of predominantly black campaign supporters.

There were no riots in Indianapolis that night.

The message RFK Sr. gave that night wasn't one of vengeance, hatred, or hopelessness, but of calm and goodness. He appealed to the best in people. He called for people to set aside their differences, anger, fear, and confusion and instead express love and compassion towards one another. RFK Sr. asked for wisdom and the pursuit of justice so that we might be resolute in our unity as the country faces another difficult chapter.

What we need in this country is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another.

Glenn has made a similar plea to our nation—a plea for unity and not to lash out in fear and anger. Don't use this time to blame your friends and family who disagree with you politically for what happened or to tell them "I told you so!" Instead, reach out with compassion and grace. This is a turning point in American history. Let's turn it upward, away from hatred and violence and towards unison and compassion.

Fortunately, President Trump walked away from his attempted assassination with very minor injuries. The bullet that wounded Trump's ear could have just as easily ended his life, and his survival is nothing short of a miracle.

Sadly, that miracle didn't extend to everyone attending Trump's ill-fated Pennsylvania rally. Three other people were shot. David Dutch and James Copenhaver, both Pennslyavia residents, are thankfully in stable condition. Corey Comperatore, however, tragically died after being shot while protecting his wife and daughter from the hail of gunfire.

“Corey died a hero."

Camperatore, a 50-year-old loving father and husband from Buffalo Township, Pennsylvania leaves behind his daughter Allyson, his wife Helen, sister Dawn, and many other friends and family. Camperatore was a man of service, having spent 43 years as part of the Buffalo Township Volunteer Fire Company and had worked his way to becoming the fire chief when he stepped down to spend more time with his daughter.

Corey Comperatore's firefighting gear outside the Buffalo Township Volunteer Fire Company. The Washington Post / Contributor | Getty Images

Corey's friends and family have nothing but good things to say about him, and judging by their testimonies, Corey's final heroic act was consistent with how the volunteer firefighter lived his life.

According to many people who knew Compertore, he was a true patriot who loved his country. He was a fan of President Trump. Compertore was very excited to attend Saturday's rally, which he expressed in his last social media post.

Corey_Comper/X

During his speech addressing the shooting, President Biden expressed his condolences to the Comperatore family, stating that "He was a father. He was protecting his family from the bullets that were being fired.”