North Texas Daily

Political differences: why some of us can’t simply overlook them

Political differences: why some of us can’t simply overlook them

Political differences: why some of us can’t simply overlook them
November 07
01:07 2018

Political beliefs are not as simple as choosing between the partisan sides of Republican versus Democrat. It is within these beliefs that our differing personal experiences throughout life have created ideals of morality — a strong moral compass directing us toward what we feel is right.

It feels as though we are incessantly being bombarded with opinions on highly sensitive subjects, such as reproductive rights, rape, racialized violence, etc. These discussions are likely to happen often within our interpersonal relationships, sometimes (or most of the time) resulting in differing opinions. It’s generally forgotten during political banter that these trivializations are actually affecting people’s daily lives, causing sums of people in our country emotional pain, separation and even death.

The argument that political differences should be arrogantly swept under the rug to keep relationships intact is neither the safest nor healthiest option, but it is the most privileged.

It seems when discussions of women’s reproductive rights take place, the loudest and most opinionated voices are usually not even women. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but is it too much to ask for a little empathy? No one is excited to have an abortion — making the choice to go through with one is a decision women deliberate with great care and reflection.

Rape, incest, insufficient income and fear of societal and familial judgment are the type of determinants women undergo to make these decisions. These factors are not for the faint of heart. When reproductive rights become a political discussion, increased shame from society and being denied service directly causes an influx of negative psychological effects, not necessarily the abortion itself.

In matters of rape allegations, survivors of sexual violence may find it retraumatizing when government officials seem to overlook allegations of rape — or when the U.S. president publicly mocks a victim who was strong enough to speak her truth.

When officials negligently disregard sexualized crime for their own political gains, they are silently telling rape victims their pain does not matter. They are silently telling perpetrators if they are a rich, white male, they can get away with it, too. During the Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearing, the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center experienced a 50 percent increase in calls.

To those who have experienced sexual assault, it is detrimental to continue to associate with those who are apologetic for accused rapists. This isn’t due to simple matters of political difference — rather, it is literally retraumatizing to see our life-scarring traumas being callously dismissed and trivialized.

The greater the insolence in American politics, the more violence seems to cultivate. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, there was a 12.5 percent increase in hate crimes reported by police last year in a few major cities, one of those being Dallas. The most affected demographics nationwide are members of the African-American, Jewish and LGBTQ communities.

Whether certain people want to admit it or not, societal privileges for white heterosexual males in society still exist. Violence seems to be most commonly aimed at those who are least represented by their government. Generational trauma regarding the genocide of Native Americans, enslavement of African-Americans, the injustices of segregation, lynchings and extreme hyper-sexualized violence against women of color are not events in history that simply stopped impacting people of color.

White supremacy still exists. Racism still exists. To ignorantly ignore the systematic oppression that still surrounds us is an insult to justice.

American society is not a cookie-cutter framework for equality. Heightened levels of political divide are unfortunate — it affects our friendships, relationships with family and even causes us to question our own place in society. In order to fully eradicate these indifferences, we must first aim to understand why people in positions of disparity feel so strongly about their democratic and social beliefs. Before casting judgments, try to empathize with struggles unfamiliar to you.

Featured Illustration: Chelsea Tolin

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madeline chalkley

madeline chalkley

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