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In today’s world, it’s getting more and more difficult to have a healthy relationship with someone if they don’t align with you politically.
With news outlets everywhere taking obvious sides in the political spectrum, it is difficult to “see through the madness” and accept your relationships based upon interests other than whether they fundamentally agree with what direction you believe our nation should go.
This has been a growing concern for me. It’s a question that we really haven’t had to ask as Americans before. How do I see eye to eye enough with someone to be their friend, if I don’t agree with their political views?
The division we are currently seeing in America has essentially been caused by more people educating themselves on politics and then those people forming strong opinions from that education. This shouldn’t be a problem at all, but since having a political stance nowadays is such a fundamental representation of values, it understandably has become problematic.
We have more political, social, environmental, and ethical issues being discussed than ever before. This causes arguments within the masses; but what about on an individual level?
Do you have friends in which you politically disagree with?
Do you talk politics with them?
Should you talk politics with them?
These are questions we need to be asking ourselves. How do we approach politics within our relationships while still maintaining that they are healthy? Although America is divided; how do we ensure that our relationships stay connected? If this is something that you are also concerned about, I have some ideas for you to ponder.
One of the easiest practices you can participate in is remembrance. Remembrance can be a remarkable tool for re-calibrating the way in which you have framed a certain person in your mind. Maybe you were once amazing friends with someone, but now, you seem to have nothing in common.
For this article’s sake, let’s say that you feel you have nothing in common with them because you don’t see eye to eye politically.
Remember why you have enjoyed their company in the past. Remember a time when them and you aligned with one another for other reasons. Far too often, we fail to reflect by practice. We will only remember when prompted to. Change that. Make it an active effort to remember the best times you have had with someone.
People Are Complicated
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, but people are pretty complicated. It’s odd to me how we can know this, but not act like it sometimes. The division we are seeing in America today derives from generalized conclusions about one another based upon only knowing one or two held beliefs by an individual.
Imagine you are sitting down for a blind date, and your date was abruptly ended due to them quickly deciding that they weren’t interested in you. When inquiring ‘why,’ you are told that it is because of the food you ordered. That would be frustrating, right?
Because it’s silly, of course.
Because they didn’t give you a chance to show them who you really are.
There is more to you than what you order to eat.
This seems ridiculous, I know. But isn’t that what we are doing when confronted with political beliefs today? There is more to us than our political affiliation.
Even typing that last sentence, I felt stupid. Because at face value, it’s common sense. For whatever reason, we fail to maintain this perspective when talking about our political affiliation with someone who doesn’t agree with us.
We shouldn’t jump to conclusions. We shouldn’t assume we know one another.
People can love, people can experience heartache, people can experience joy, people can go through some the most trying and disgusting times in human history and come out of it better than they were before. People are complicated.
If you would like to learn more about the history of politics and get valuable, nonpartisan information, I would recommend reading What You Should Know About Politics… But Don’t: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues That Matter by Jessamyn Conrad.