How do political differences impact your friendships?- a tale of two friends

posted 4 months ago in The Lounge
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  • Post # 31
    Member
    1372 posts
    Bumble bee

    jannigirl :  What you’ve described it not necessarily what people are doing when they refuse to maintain relationships with people of different “perspectives.” Not all perspectives are “equal,” if I can use that kind of language. The perspective, for instance, that people of color are inferior to white people is not equal to the perspective that racial backgrounds have no bearing on one’s value as a human being. The perspective that animals are worthless and can be tortured or neglected is not equal to the perspective that animals should be treated with kindness whenever possible.

    Many people recognize this and rightly won’t keep people in their lives who maintain disgusting perspectives such as those I mentioned. Don’t try to strawman it as though people are just being “intolerant” of others’ views–people have every right to be intolerant of views that cause extreme harm to others. Frankly, we have an obligation to call out disgusting views so that maybe the way people behave toward others will change for the better. 

    Post # 32
    Member
    549 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2020 - Summer Camp!

    ladama :  I believe in gender equality; however, calling myself “feminist” feels exclusionary to me, especially given its historical background in demanding equal rights for middle-upper class cisgender white women. So there are reasons to choose not to identify as a feminist while not being sexist. 

     

    My fiance and I are rather liberal (he identifies as a socialist, for example), but our families are more conservative. Going to grad school in a city in a healthcare field, it’s rare to see conservatives, but I found out a few of my friends are. I’ve learned to tone it down a bit, no longer in my even more liberal hometown. If I talk politics, I try to stick to topics I think are safer, like affordable healthcare access. Even though we all might take different approaches to what that means, everyone in my circle wants people to have that. You can still find common ground with her in many ways, even though her view on abortion is disappointing. 

    Post # 33
    Member
    37 posts
    Newbee

    jannigirl :  Respectfully, I believe it’s more nuanced than that. Ostensibly, I agree that I would not want to be so full of myself and my own opinion that I can’t have a relationship with anyone who has a different viewpoint, and I would hope that I would be open to learning something new and trying to understand other perspectives. However, like the OP, one can have many conversations, search for common ground, spend a lot of time honestly trying to understand other perspectives, and still find that some – not all, but some – of the others in our lives who differ with us are embracing views and actively supporting policies that violate our own deeply held values – values that have persisted after a good deal of reflection and soul-searching – to such an extent that we simply can’t have that level of relationship with them any more.

    Post # 35
    Member
    1303 posts
    Bumble bee

    jannigirl :  Surely that depends what that view point is? If you’re an immigrant and someone you’re friends with believes all immigrants should be deported are you seriously telling me you’d remain friends with them and overlook that? Same as if you’re gay and your friend believes homosexuality is a perversion and should be illegal, you would look past that because you’re not “arrogant enough to believe you’re correct”? Come off it. 

    I suspect you’re in a very privileged position if you can’t even imagine a situation where you would end a friendship because of differing opinions. 

    Post # 36
    Member
    7637 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    soexcited123 :  people can differ on social issues, but how someone else chooses to live their life literally doesn’t affect you. Don’t like gay marriage? Fine then don’t get one but that doesn’t give you the right to tell other people who to love. You don’t understand how someone could be born in the wrong body? Fine but that doesn’t mean you get to have an opinion on where they pee. I’ve had family support white supremacist candidates and as the mother of a half Jewish daughter I refuse to allow those people in my life or hers. Life is too short for me to waste time with people like that. I don’t see any value in debating those topics because my mind will not be changed. But hey I’ll debate a $15 minimum wage all day and be happy for someone to change my mind! 

    Post # 37
    Member
    1891 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I agree with you 100%.  to me the only side attacking people are the conservatives. Because all liberals want is women being free to make their own live choices in private. I’m sorry but that’s pretty passive. Going out and forcing others to do what YOU think is in their best interest is attacking and persecuting. Pretty simple and pretty obvious. 

    Its like a woman on the bus who is minding her own business going to work, and someone goes up and insists on touching her without her consent. Pretty obvious who is in the wrong there. And it’s not the person who was just trying to live their life. 

    futuremrs2020 :  

    OP, that would be very difficult to deal with a friendship like that especially now that we need every woman engaged in the effort to gain equality. I’d have a hard time with that. And if you can’t even get through a movie night Without ruffling each others feathers… you might not be able to remain friends. I’d also be thinking to the future, because If ANYONE made an ignorant anti woman comment Infront if my children I would absolutely stand up and say something. Because nobody is going to teach my kids more ignorance. 

    Post # 39
    Member
    7637 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    elodie2019 :  “abortion after birth” is already illegal. It’s called murder. Not a single person who advocates for a woman’s right to choose condones infanticide. 

    Post # 40
    Member
    193 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2019

    From what you wrote I actually can understand where your friend is coming from. 

    It seems like nowadays people are under the impression “if you are not with me, you are against me”. I used to love to talk about politics and learn about people’s different views but not anymore. I have actually made it a point to not talk about politics around certain people like my sister just to be able to maintain a good relationship. 

    It is sad that I have to do this but here let me state what I am. I was born in NYC to first generation immigrants from Dominican Republic. I am married to a white man from Wisconsin. Socially I’m pretty liberal but fiscally I’m very conservative. My husband did vote for trump and I didn’t. I also do not believe in open borders because my parents sacrificed alot to come to this country legally and the right way. I do not believe in things being handed to people. I am not stating this to cause a political debate. Trust me no one is going to change my mind and I really have no interest in changing anyone else’s mind but people are not interested in hearing about different theories anymore.

    My husband and I also get constantly attacked and disrespected for our conservative views. My sister has even called him racist…lol. I find that really funny and I get defensive like your friend does because somehow conservative equals evil nowadays. My husband is alot of things but a racist is not one of them and I would never let anyone attack him for his political views like that. The tendency is to revert to a character attack…you are racist..privelaged…women hater….bigot. it’s very exhausting. 

    To me it’s not a big deal to have friends who share different political views as long as there is respect and if they are ok to agree to disagree. 

     

    Post # 41
    Member
    1477 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

    OP, you mention that it’s gotten harder and harder for you to agree to disagree, and to be honest I think that’s indicative of our society on the whole.  I believe the root cause of these kinds of political ruptures in relationships is because society has decided to function entirely in heightened emotions, drama, and hyperbole.  Years ago, you would say, “I really strongly disagree with that opinion.”  Nowadays, people jump immediately to personal attacks on character that are completely baseless.  I don’t care what side you’re on – everyone does it.  “Thousands of people will DIE if my favorite policies aren’t adopted!”  No, no they won’t.  Objectivity matters.

    So I suppose my advice to you is this: take a look at your opinion of your friend and see how much of it is being colored by your emotional reaction to current politics.  You mention how wonderful your friend is otherwise, so it would seem to me that you’re getting a bit too invested mentally and emotionally in your beliefs.  Your beliefs can stay the same, but they should not dictate your judgement of those around you nor your actions toward others in your relationships.

    ETA: Small soap box rant.  Any of you on this forum who say something like “well it’s only the other side that attacks people!” are dumber than a box of hair.  You are the problem.  I don’t give a shit what color you vote for, but you must understand that you are demonizing people purely because they aren’t following your script.  Don’t be a gd moron.  Whatever you believe and whatever side you’re on, learn to look at your OWN party with objectivity.  Otherwise we will continue to go up in flames.  Your beliefs are not the only correct ones.

    Post # 42
    Member
    53 posts
    Worker bee

    Individuals are entitled to their opinions, and to voice those opinions, providing that those voiced opinions do not incite actions that infringe upon the rights of others. I firmly believe that the duty of government is to protect the people, to provide them with the ability to live safe, healthy and unharassed lives (and yes, that means providing them with medical care, housing, food and enforcing their individual constitutional rights). I also truly believe that this country was founded on benevolent principles (somewhat nonspecific, but hey, it was pretty good for a bunch of old white dudes) and that turning away refugees from other countries and villifying women, people of color, the queer community, the mentally ill, the disabled, the devotees of certain religions, blatantly goes against those principles. Our current government largely refuses to acknowledge its responsibility toward its own citizens and those who come to us for help. In the past, there may have been many legitimate positions spanning between liberal and conservative, but this “elected” government has ensured that there are only two positions to choose from: You are either for this administration or against it. It is up to the individual to make that choice and to fully understand what the implications and consequences of that choice are. One of the consequences is often the severing of relationships, and that is unfortunate, but at the moment it’s just the way it is.

    Post # 43
    Member
    1079 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2017

    I think our political perspectives demonstrate what we value, and as such, are often a good representation of who we are as people. I find it really difficult to separate someone’s politics from their personality for this reason. It’s also why I don’t have much respect for people who claim to vote right-wing because they are “fiscally conservative but socially liberal”. What that says to me is that you’ll vote for someone who will take away civil liberties from women, minorities, basically anyone who doesn’t look like them – in order to pay less in taxes? My right to decide what happens to my body, the human rights of a child to not be thrown in a cage at the border, the rights of a trans student to use the bathroom that aligns with their identity, the right of a black or brown person to not be murdered at the hands of the police – they’ll give these things lip service but vote against these rights, in order to save some money (and not even! Those tax breaks are benefiting the uber-wealthy, not the majority of the middle class. But I digress). 

    OP, it does sound like your friend has changed and you two have grown away from each other. If you want to save this friendship, I suggest having a conversation where you lay your cards on the table and ask if you can agree to both assume that the other is coming from a good place if you hear something you disagree with. If there is room for discussion about the topic(s), without name calling or hurtful words, then great, you should do that. if not, then I don’t see this relationship continuing to be a valuable one for you. Do you really want to spend your time together censoring your true thoughts so you don’t accidentally start an argument? So you either distance yourself by spending less time together, or by only talking about superficial subjects (though I would have considered the Aquaman movie to be a superficial subject, and look where that got you).

    I struggle with this a lot with my in-laws who are conservative and mired in the Fox News miasma. Though with them, I never introduce controversial topics, but desparately try to avoid them. And then when they do say something, I try to figure out how to walk the tightrope of responding in a way that doesn’t start a fight, but lets them know that I’m not okay with their comments (think: homophobic, sexist, racist, anti-immigrant, anti-choice). I could probably poke holes in the logic of a lot of their closely held beliefs, but to what end? They would just cling to them even more and it would hurt my husband, who doesn’t agree with them but wants to keep them in his life (and honestly, part of me is afraid to know what they truly think if I were to shine a light on their beliefs). 

    Post # 44
    Member
    193 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2019

    mrsptobe2017 :  see I think this is a huge part of the issue. “You will vote to take away rights from basically anyone who doesnt look like you”. These are the type of phrases that demonizes people for their opinions. 

    As a minority I am so tired of people making me into a victim. Just stop. The big bad white man is not out to get us. 

    As a color woman I have had a successful career in the military, I am currently working on my masters, and I have made my parents proud. This is something that would never happened if they stayed in Dominican Republic. It is as equally insulting treating minorities like “victims” and someone being racist. 

    Post # 45
    Member
    1079 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2017

    dabribri23 :  I can’t speak for you, and I’m glad you don’t feel like you are being victimized by the people currently making policy. But rights are being taken away from the people I mentioned in my comment. And in your earlier comment you talked about your parents coming to the US “the right way” which suggests to me that you don’t have much empathy for people who are coming to the US to escape terrible violence, who present themselves at the border as asylum seekers – which is legal, by the way – and still have their families ripped apart. 

    If someone’s opinion is that it’s ok to put kids in cages and separate them from their parents – without any way of tracking them so they can be reunited, no less! – then that’s an opinion that deserves to be demonized. 

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