North Texas Daily

Difference of opinions should not affect relationships

Difference of opinions should not affect relationships

Difference of opinions should not affect relationships
October 23
12:00 2021

We are all bearing witness to the vanishing of common ground. Though many of us on campus are unable to fully recall life before social media, there was a time when differences of opinion were valued or at least tolerated. Not to assume that life prior to the internet age was one big picnic, but I can confidently assume there has never been a time we have been more divided politically as a country since the Civil War. Eighty-nine percent of Trump voters believed the country would be harmed under President Joe Biden’s direction, while 90 percent of Biden voters believed the same would happen under a Trump presidency, according to a poll conducted by Pew Research

We understand why we are so divided as a country because we live the experience every day. However, personal relationships are changing with the times, and not for the better. The lack of compromise in American society is changing how we see each other. Our enemies aren’t just on the other side of the world, they’re living in the same country as us. Everyone has a goal or agenda, resulting in an “us vs. them” mentality. 

Today many of us desire partners who share our core values. It’s often seen as a necessity during the screening process of dating. It’s common to hear people say they would never date a Trump supporter or a “crazy liberal.” In fact, 55 percent of American couples exclusively date within their political parties, according to a survey conducted by FiveThirtyEight

It’s fair enough to weed out incompatible partners during the dating process. However, people do change. During the 2020 election, there were voters who initially voted for Trump in 2016 and turned to Biden in 2020. Likewise, there were voters who were against Trump in 2016 but voted for him in the next election. So, what happens if friends or family members shift their political views?

Los Angeles resident Shama Davis said he ended his 25-year friendship with a friend by telling him to “lose” his number, according to a survey by NPR. In the same survey Ricardo Deforest of Tampa, Florida, described the pain of cutting off communication with his cousins.

“I hate to say it because family is everything, I disowned them. In my kind they’re not family anymore,” Deforest said.

The political divide has grown so much that a lot of Americans don’t see it as a simple difference of opinion in tax policies, but as differences in character and morality. Davis said as a Black man he had to cut ties with his friend after they continued to downplay the seriousness of police brutality, instead focused on the looting and violence around mostly peaceful protests.

Davis said that he lost respect for his friend and couldn’t be associated with him anymore. On the other side, Deforest cut off his cousins after he felt they were part of the left that sold our country out.

“This election is about the soul of what America is. You can’t be a free country and be a socialist state at the same time,” Deforest said. 

I must admit that I am guilty of having cut someone off for their political difference. I once had a friend on social media who commented on one of my anti-Trump posts. We argued and out of anger, I deleted him from my friends list. I regretted the decision I impulsively made because destroying that friendship didn’t change his opinion nor mine. Neither of us should have tried to change the opinion of the other to begin with. I have family members who are pro-Trump and while I disagree with their stances on certain situations, their relationship is more important to me than our difference of opinion. 

It’s easy to cut someone off but ending relationships should never be the answer. America is a democracy and differences of opinion should be valued, not antagonized. We shouldn’t be a one-party system, we need to have differences of opinion to change the direction of the country. If it only moves one way, it will get stale and fall apart. We don’t have to agree with friends or family members when it comes to political issues, but we should communicate our differences in a respectful manner and leave it at that.

If we’re quick to cancel people without having civil conversations, then we rob ourselves of the ability to compromise or grow as a person. 

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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