Democrat Ann Brown, Republican Nancy Hart: Friendship survived politics

Democrat Ann Brown, Republican Nancy Hart: Friendship survived politics

Ann Brown and Nancy Hart say their friendship of three many years has survived a rising political chasm for one purpose: mutual respect.

Brown, an ardent Democrat, and Hart, an equally steadfast Republican, say they emphasize their nonpolitical commonalities, particularly philanthropy and group service. However greater than something, the 2 merely say they “treasure” their friendship an excessive amount of to let politics get between them.

“She could be very, very energetic in good works and I assist that and she or he helps me,” Brown mentioned of Hart.

“And you understand what, we focus on, we speak and we conform to disagree,” Hart added.

The flexibility to debate, and settle for, a differing political perspective appears more and more a rarity throughout America, and a flashpoint often severing bonds between households and mates. This yr, the nation, and Florida, endured one other bruising, and caustic, election season that has as soon as once more examined the boundaries of partisan tolerance.

A Pew Analysis Heart ballot launched forward of the November midterm vote confirmed that the rank-and-file inside each main events do not simply see rival political ideologies in a “adverse mild” however the individuals espousing them as effectively.

“Rising shares of each Republicans and Democrats say members of the opposite occasion are extra immoral, dishonest, closed-minded than different Individuals,” Pew’s ballot concluded. They usually accomplish that by ample margins registering from 60% to 80%, the survey confirmed.

The friction is probably going so as to add heartburn to vacation dinners as households and mates collect once more, maybe for the primary time for the reason that begin of the COVID-19 pandemic, for the year-end holidays, together with Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New 12 months’s.

Brown and Hart, who each stay in Palm Seashore Gardens, say they, too, might simply fall into the partisan abyss however their friendship and loyalty means an excessive amount of to them.

Moreover their lunches and shared previous, they’re bonded in assist for one another’s group causes. Brown, who nonetheless spends half the yr or so dwelling in Washington, D.C., is energetic in serving to the Lord’s Place, Palm Seashore Dramaworks and B’nai B’rith.

Hart, who moved to Palm Seashore County as a full-time resident from Vermont in 1992 together with her husband, backs the Dreyfoos College of the Arts and the Melanoma Basis in addition to the nonpartisan American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

However each are clear they do not steer away from or keep away from “taboo” political discussions about abortion, immigration or presidential politics. No, they are saying they go face to face, no holds barred.

“We agree on nothing,” mentioned Brown, who was appointed by President Invoice Clinton to function chair of the U.S. Client Product Security Fee. “I like her each minute. I take heed to her with respect for her opinion and she or he listens to me. However we’re on completely different sides of the political spectrum. It is so simple as that, and it has not in any method ruined our friendship. In actual fact, we’ve our lunches collectively and it makes us nearer.”

Hart, who has supported former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis, agreed.

“It makes me suppose and I do prefer to suppose,” Hart added. “I have never modified my thoughts actually very a lot, however no less than I perceive the place she’s coming from. She explains her beliefs. It isn’t simply, ‘I imagine this with none reasoning behind it.’ She has causes and that helps me to know the place she’s coming from and I respect that.”

Friendship earlier than partisanship

Not solely do they respect one another, they’ve additionally defended one another towards rudeness from inside their very own political ranks.

Hart shares what she calls a telling anecdote from a gathering the 2 attended in the course of the late 2000s. Throughout a question-and-answer session with a Florida state consultant, Hart mentioned she inquired how the Democratic lawmaker deliberate to pay for a program they have been touting.

“I raised my hand and I mentioned, ‘And the way do you intend to pay for this?'” Hart mentioned. “And her reply to me was, ‘Who let that lady on this room?'”

Hart mentioned she was shocked, however Brown rapidly got here to her protection in chastising the lawmaker by reminding her the group was nonpartisan and Hart’s query was a professional space of dialogue. “Ann stood up for me proper then and there,” Hart remembers.

“What I did was I did not fear about who was Republican or Democrat,” Brown recalled. “I stood up for my pal. And I feel that’s the place friendship supersedes the whole lot.”

As a result of, Brown added, all of it comes all the way down to their mutual admiration and appreciation. “You’ll be able to see respect is the important thing phrase right here,” she mentioned. “We respect one another.”

Brown mentioned the friction over politics is due, maybe, to individuals who have misplaced perspective.

“Actually, it is friendship over all else. When you will have a great pal or a relative who’s shut, you wish to treasure it, and separate it,” mentioned Brown, who simply this yr helped fundraise for Democrat Val Demings’ U.S. Senate marketing campaign.

Brown mentioned she has been engaged and concerned in politics since her teenage years, so she understands the fervour behind the partisanship.

“I’m a passionate particular person politically. However my friendship with Nancy overrides that,” she mentioned. “She is extra of a treasure to me. Folks should take into consideration what the friendship means to them and ask why cannot they’ve each of their lives, politics and friendship.”

Hart nodded in settlement.

“Crucial factor to me is to give you the option pay attention and to have the flexibility to speak,” she mentioned.

Hart mentioned she has been shunned by individuals due to partisan variations. There are erstwhile mates, she mentioned, who “do not speak to me anymore” after “stomping out” in a political disagreement.

“That is not the way in which our system ought to work,” Hart mentioned “We’re a democratic republic. We must always pay attention to one another. We will agree. We will disagree.”

That is how it’s with Brown, she mentioned.

“We are saying, ‘OK, I perceive what you are pondering’ … and we transfer on,” Hart mentioned. “And now what are we going to order for dinner?”