Living in a society that utilizes a two party system, there is naturally a lot of animosity between people with varying political opinions. People online are constantly referring to the other side as ignorant, uninformed, and, even, brainwashed by liberal/conservative media.
My boyfriend is intelligent, kind, and politically aware, however, he also leans pretty heavily to the right, while I prefer the left. Most people I know can barely hold a conversation with someone from the “other” side, let alone maintain a relationship with them. So how do we do it?
I’m not going to lie, a lot of our political conversations have ended with aggressive silence, angry glares, and the occasional “I can’t talk about this with you.” However, as time has passed I’ve found that when you put aside personal opinions and views and open your mind to what someone has to say, the experience can be rewarding. We have great conversations over dinner, while watching the news, and on long car rides. We debate, we yell, and sometimes we even agree.
Let’s face it: it’s boring to talk about politics with someone who has the same opinions as you. Not only that, it’s not intellectually challenging in the slightest. Sitting around with another Republican/Democrat discussing how “ignorant” the other side is accomplishes nothing except encouraging animosity between people who all ultimately want the same thing: a safe and functional country.
Next time you find yourself in a conversation with someone who has different political beliefs from yours, don’t immediately shut the person down. See it as an opportunity to defend your own views, and maybe even learn something new. We’ll never get anywhere in this country by putting each other down, so let’s sit and talk.
Kelsey Miller is a well-known meme historian and pasta maker. Her passions include bad reality TV, grey sweatpants, and fat dogs. She’s been faking it ’til she makes it since 1993 (although she hasn’t made it yet).