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I thought I'd post a follow up to this topic. Fortunately, things are looking up. I'm out of training and flying solo nights and weekends (rotating shift, ugh.) Obviously, if there's no one around, no awkward topics come up. But even when people are present, getting along with them has become easier. For some reason, the gatherings have been smaller lately and it's easier to manage the conversation.
Management has since publicly stated that discussions of politics are not allowed after a rather awkward and testy departmental meeting (I'm not the only liberal, and he's much more vociferous than I am.) However, everyone ignores that directive unless management is present. Nonetheless, I've so far managed to negotiate the minefield. I don't think anyone realizes I'm a liberal, though the fellow I mentioned above may have a clue.
Thanks for the suggestions and support. I don't feel like a spineless coward now.
A co-worker pointed out this story to me today. Apparently a black protester at a "white nationalist" rally hugged one of the neo-Nazis in attendance. The Nazi had been assaulted and was bleeding, and the hugger thought to himself "He just needs a little love" and hugged him. When asked by the hugger why the Nazi hated him, the Nazi responded "I don't know." Metta in action...
Several days ago I ran across this quote from Florence and the Machine's video Delilah. It's been rattling around my brain since then, and seems appropriate, though I'm not sure how well it fits into Buddhist thought with the references to faith and soul.
“You think you have lost your faith but you have not, you have only misplaced your faith. And you can find it, where it lies now deep in your soul, and the way to do that is through the simple process of love. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. You can’t love and forgive other people if you don’t first of all love and forgive yourself. You have to realize people are fallible beings. They make mistakes, they have to be excused from these mistakes and are allowed to continue on their quest for a better life and for goodness. So love yourself, then love other people. Please forgive yourself. Go on a journey finding love and forgiveness…”