How To Find Friends And Allies In The Age Of Divisiveness

It’s time to ditch the purity tests

Barry Davret
5 min readJan 10, 2022


Licensed from Shutterstock // Roman Kosolapov

Back in the 90s, within my clique of friends, one member of our crew, Amy, often inserted her ultra-conservative views whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The rest of us were left of center politically, but back then, ultra-conservative equated to the Mitt Romney’s and George Bush’s of the world. So, whenever she lectured us on taxes or overseas military adventures, one or more of us would strike back with an equally pithy quip. Then, we’d laugh it off and move on with our lives.

I don’t know what happened with Amy. We were Facebook friends once, but she’s no longer on the platform, so far as I can tell. But if the environment of the 1990s had matched today’s environment, I doubt we’d ever have been friends. Despite our differences, we did share similar views on several issues, but that wouldn’t suffice in today’s world.

Today, we no longer accept dissent. We demand conformity. It’s an insane way to live.

Ed Koch, the legendary former mayor of New York City, once said, “If you agree with me on 9 of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.”

Long ago, we believed that philosophy a reasonable way to approach politics and personal relationships. But times have changed since the Ed Koch’s of the world held sway. Today, most people think along with this mindset:

“If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, we can be friends. If you disagree with me on one or more out of 12 issues, I will shun you from my life.”

Let’s all take a deep breath.

We can’t go on like that. Now, I have some old friends from high school and college who would look the other way at an insurrection, purposely prolong a pandemic to hurt their political opponents, or harass folks wearing masks at Target.

Those actions go beyond mere political or worldview differences. But there’s a cohort that lies somewhere in the middle. They’re the ones who, perhaps, got vaccinated because they believe in science but opposed general mandates because of the lens through which they evaluate freedom versus community responsibility.



Barry Davret

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