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Friends – Do they matter?

Do you remember your first real friend?

What was it that brought you together? Most likely it was the similarities between you. You probably both enjoyed riding skateboards, or jumping rope, having deep discussions about life, or laughing at things that you both found humorous. Most likely you were on the same wavelength ?, had similar ideas and beliefs, and agreed on many if not most issues.

When you became an adult, did anything about that change? For me, it has a little bit. I have friends who are different sides of the spectrum politically, religiously, and philosophically probably more than I did as a younger person. I can appreciate our differences more now, respect their opinions (and hope they respect mine!), and agree to disagree about issues that we differ on.

In the news the past several days, the presidential campaign has taken an especially negative tone. A few days ago, I didn ?t think I really liked either candidate and now I know I don ?t like either one. They have both had close associations even friendships that admittedly give me pause. So my question is: How much do the friendships and associates of political candidates matter to you?

To me, it does say something about the judgment of a person if they choose to associate with individuals who are criminals, morally degenerate, or unpatriotic. I want my president to be someone who associates with people who are honest, who believe in God, who obey the law, and love their country. I would say that both McCain and Obama have associates and even friends who are questionable. It does bother me that even though McCain was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Keating scandal, he made a choice to associate with someone who did not have the best interest of Americans in mind. It bothers me that Obama chose to worship for 20 years under a leader (and mentor ?) who gave some of the most hate-filled speeches I ?ve ever heard.

For either McCain or Obama to claim that they didn ?t know what these people were about doesn ?t hold water to me. Then again, I ?m really sick of hearing about it all. What I really want to hear tonight at the debate is what each candidate has to offer our country as they seek the highest office in the land. Instead of focusing on what the other person has done wrong (and both of them have done plenty of that in my opinion), focus on what you are going to do right!

I won ?t be holding my breath.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • facethemusic October 7, 2008, 6:32 pm

    To answer the question, I think they matter immensely. We certainly care about who are childrens’ friends are. Why? Because WHO we hang out with says a LOT about US and who WE are!
    If your kids are hanging around with kids into the “goth” craze then you worry about them coming home with a million piercings and black lipstick.
    If they’re hanging around kids who are KNOWN for doing drugs, you have EVERY REASON to worry that your kid is doing drugs.
    If they’re hanging around with the really good kids with solid testimonies then you find comfort in that.
    Naturally, being with kids decked in black and piercings doesn’t mean THEY will do it for sure.
    Nor does hanging around with the “really good kids” mean your kid is perfectly safe.
    But we all know that who we CHOOSE to associate with, also says alot about the kinds of other choices we might make and certainly what we’re willing to tolerate and/or accept from others.
    That being said– I think the concern over the Keating 5 thing isn’t ANYTHING compared to Obama’s associations.
    First, because the other 3 guys in the Keating scandal were found to have GROSSLY “misbehaved”, whereas John Glenn and McCain were NOT found to have don’t anything purposefully wrong, but just used bad judgment. (And funny– Obama has been using John Glenn to campaign for him— figure THAT one out.)
    Additionally– it was ONE incident, and McCain immediately apologized and has done so over the years, admitting that he DID use bad judgment. Nothing like that has EVER come out of Obama’s mouth. And with Obama it’s a PATTERN, not just an incident.
    Could McCain’s part in the scandal have been MORE than just bad judgment? Of course. Maybe he knew exactly what he was doing. We have no way of knowing.
    But with Obama it’s clear. He was brought up by Marxist parents, and over the years has CONTINUED to choose friends, mentors and work associates who are Marxist, Socialist, America hating idealogues and has never apologized for it. Not only that, those Marxist, socialist notions are the very fiber of his views on all the issues.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 8, 2008, 12:56 am

    Angie, nice column.

    I think associations matter a great deal, just like I think character matters. Obama’s association with a domestic terrorist is beyond belief to me.

  • Naismith October 15, 2008, 10:19 am

    This was very thought-provoking. It also raises the question of repentance, and how long it takes before we let someone move on, or whether that label sticks with them forever and cancels out any good they might do with the rest of their life.

    To me, it does say something about the judgment of a person if they choose to associate with individuals who are criminals, morally degenerate, or unpatriotic.

    I don’t disagree, but I also think that BEING morally degenerate etc. is worse than choosing to associate with someone who has been morally degenerate etc. in the past.

    And the thing is, McCain was morally degenerate, by the account of any biographer and his own admissions. He was a multiple adulterer who flagrantly cheated on his wife.

    Compare that to Obama, who was so gracious and sweet about his wife at the end of the last debate, crediting his wife for having a better sense of what he didn’t know, and often being the means of learning such things. It was lovely, and seemed just like something one of our LDS general authorities would say.

    But some Republicans argue that stuff with McCain was all in the past, so we should forget about that. I’m not sure you can have it both ways.

  • agardner October 15, 2008, 10:54 am

    McCain’s adultery bothers me greatly.

    Obama’s lack of adultery…well, I’m going to be a little cynical about that and just say that the Obamas seem to have a good relationship. Then again, how many times have you been blindsided when you find out someone (in personal or public life) has been unfaithful…and just not caught until then. While on the surface all seems okay in their marriage – you never know. They have both talked about “rocky times” in their marriage, and it would not surprise me in the least if part of that is stepping outside of the marriage. It happens, unfortunately.

    While I’m bothered by McCain’s adultery, I’m just as bothered if not more so by political connections, religious leaders, and friendship connections of both candidates.

    I agree completely that being morally degenerate is differently from associating with someone who is. This is where the lines get fuzzy. Is it a relationship of coincidence (we served in the state senate together and became friendly), a relationship of choice (I became best friends with a money-launderer), etc.

    I will admit that Obamas ties to Reverend Wright bother me far more than his ties to Bill Ayers. I think that’s because religion is such a personal thing, and it’s a CHOICE. There are thousands of churches and/or pastors, ministers, reverends to choose from – and Obama made the choice to worship in a church for 20 years that spews hatred. And THEN he says that he didn’t “realize” that Rev. Wright had anti-American feelings. Um, okay. I think you can pretty much tell within a few weeks what style your minister/bishop/pastor etc. has…20 years should have been long enough to figure it out and get out. Instead, Obama called Wright his “mentor” and “friend” and “almost like a father”. This relationship bothers me because it was a choice, he made AS AN ADULT, and he stayed for 20 YEARS, and only got out and disagreed with Wright when it started giving him political grief.

  • ChanJo October 15, 2008, 12:43 pm

    This is a good article, agardner. I do think it matters. But I think how much it matters depends on lots of things.

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