Nonvoter is trashing her friend's politics

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: I am a conservative Republican, and like to think I'm open-minded. I have friends across the political spectrum. One friend is my political opposite. I'm fine with that, but she seems to enjoy attacking my politics and, well, it gets personal. The other day she announced that she does not intend to vote! Do I have permission to tell her to step off? If she doesn't vote, she doesn't get to trash someone else's political point of view, right?FuriousDEAR FURIOUS: First of all, thank you for asking my permission to do something. I sure wish my kids would.

I agree with you that your friend should exercise her right to vote for her candidate with the same passion and vigor she attacks your point of view.

However, your situation illustrates the beauty of our system. You and your friends, neighbors and fellow citizens have the right to passionately express your political opinions. You don't get to restrict or suppress someone else's freedom of expression. Nor can you demand that someone else vote.

However, I agree that voting is a right and a duty of citizenship that we should all treasure. I hope parents will take their kids to the polls tomorrow to demonstrate this.

DEAR AMY: "Sad in the South" wrote a heartbreaking letter about her mother, who was an alcoholic, and her father, who was in denial. I recommend checking out Adult Children of Alcoholics (adultchildren.org). This is a wonderful 12-step program for people who grew up in alcoholic or other dysfunctional homes. "Sad" must be willing to accept that alcoholism is a generational disease that affects all members of the family. It will affect her children, too, even if she never drinks a drop. She must be willing to understand that theonly person she can change is herself.Been ThereDEAR BEEN THERE: Thank you for the recommendation.