Blast from the past

Today I posted something online and got a reaction which really surprised me. 

I shared an article from Business Insider that basically was quoting a blog post from a conservative thinker “wondering” if some of Paul Krugman’s ideas about the economy and this recession are right given where we today. I thought it was an interesting perspective because I’m tired of seeing both sides try to destroy the other instead of learning from them.
Someone who follows me decided to comment on the post. He had strong words to say about Krugman and links going back to 2003 on conservative sites about what kind of partisan hack he is. We traded a few comments back and forth, me trying to stick to the middle ground and him consistently making his case to educate me about Krugman’s biases and inaccuracies.
But that’s not what this blog post is about.
What it’s about is that the comment came from some that I “knew” a long time ago. We were friends during high school and college. Both “geeks” though he was always a much better mathematician than I ever was. We lost touch after school as I moved around, relationships changed and eventually reconnected again online. We didn’t talk often and even when we lived in the same city didn’t make the effort to see each other. I don’t blame him, it’s just the way connections work these days. I wish we had done more than seen each other at a 10 year reunion.
So when I saw the comment out of the blue it was kind of a surprise. I hadn’t heard from him in years as far as I can remember. No message to say “hello, how are you?” No questions about family, friends or condolences about dad’s passing this year. 
I’m not angry with my friend for his politics. I’m glad he feels so strongly and hope he gets out to promote his views and the candidates that support them. I’m glad we’re in a country where not only can we disagree but where we have such great tools to share our views with each other. I just wonder if all this ease of communication, of dropping in and out of each other’s lives, allows us to forget what real connection is? 
Would we walk up to someone we hadn’t seen in years and open a conversation with politics? How do we define connection when it’s as easy as a mouse click? Should we have a new kind of etiquette about reconnections? I know I’m guilty of falling into and out of lives. I’ve been called on it several times dropping an email or friend request out of the blue. Just today emailed one old friend who I hadn’t talked to in a long time to ask about a favor for another friend. I’m not sure why those few online comments impacted me so much, but I know I’m going to act differently in the future because of it.

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