Let's say we're friends. Good friends. You and me.
We've known each other a long time. In fact, I come over every day, arriving at your house before you're awake.
We generally get along well. I tell good stories and keep you informed about what's happening around the community. You find me entertaining and funny and we even solve some puzzles together.
We've had our differences, though, and I know I've upset you before. Sometimes I make mistakes or leave something out that you think is important. Sometimes I arrive late or come in wet from the rain, and I know that's disappointing.
But we remain friends. Good friends. You and me.
But one day, totally out of the blue, I tell you that I think one of the candidates running for president is unfit for the job, and the best option is to vote for the other candidate, despite her many flaws.
You're shocked and you can't believe I would say such a thing. Despite everything we've been through, you say I'm out of touch with the community and I'm no longer welcome in your house.
"It's just my opinion," I say. "You're free to express your own opinion and cast your vote for the candidate you think is best."
But my viewpoint has caught you by surprise and you're not having it. "How can you support a criminal, a liar? Get out."
"Let's talk about something else," I say. "Are you going to the game on Saturday? Maybe check out the movie times. The weather is supposed to be nice. A good recipe might make you feel better."
But none of it matters. You've made up your mind, and despite all that we have in common, our time together ends.
Still, I want to be friends. I want to appreciate our differences and celebrate our freedom to express them. I want to know your thoughts, and I want to continue to share mine with you, even if -- no, especially when -- we disagree.
Being informed and recognizing the other side's point of view makes us stronger individually, which leads to a better, healthier community. We need each other.
I cherish what we had -- that friendship -- and I'm not going anywhere. So when you're ready, I'll be waiting with plenty of stories to share. Just like old times. Good friends. You and me.