After the election, there were many reports of people ditching their Facebook friends, friends in real life, and even family members because they voted for the other guy. There are a lot of reasons to remember that just because you don’t agree with the other side, doesn’t mean there is a right and a wrong.
I read recently here on Camp Campaign about how one commenter didn’t believe in the “get out and vote” message from certain people, because it meant encouraging people to vote wrong. But this is where I disagree. I don’t think there is a “voting wrong”. I am unsure when having an opinion moved from being an opinion to being right and wrong. I may disagree, I may not always understand, but some things are not black and white.
Here are things having friends from different parties can offer you and things that you can remember as you try to move forward with your differently minded friends:
1) Friends can help you expand your opinion – I am happy to have friends on every side of the political spectrum. The value of that has been to help open my mind to other arguments. I may not be convinced they are right, but I do realize my friends are not stupid, nor are they uneducated. They have opinions that differ from mine. By labeling the other side “dumb” or “uneducated” you are immediately dismissing them and not allowing room for discussion. Discussing political subjects with my friends helps me reconsider my opinions and often try to find new reasons for having them. If you cannot stand to have your opinions challenged, they cannot be very strong.
2) Friends can keep you grounded – It is important to remember that politics, while important, are just politics. What is more important than family and friends? Don’t push people away, just because.
3) Not everyone cares or wants to hear it – If you are constantly going on about politics, chances are you don’t have a very diverse group of friends left. I am happy to call Libertarians, Republicans, Anarchists, Socialists and Lefties friends. But I also don’t lecture them on my political beliefs. I may discuss my opinions with them, but it is also because I want to hear what they think. There are good times to keep quiet about your political beliefs.
4) Party politics don’t mean much – I don’t know anyone who believes 100% in what any political party says. Most people will say “Well I like the Republicans, but I hate that they stand for…” Or the same for Dems. Realize that we are individuals and not just party cookie cutters.
5) Read diverse sources – Don’t just listen to one side of the argument – if you get most of your news from the Huffington Post, check out the Drudge Report now and then. If you only watch Fox News, switch over to CNN and see what the other side is saying. Realize that not just the other side’s media is being warped, but yours is too.
6) Turn off politics and go get a drink – Forget about politics for awhile and remember why you are friends. If you truly think your friend is a know-nothing idiot then break contact with them. But if their vote is the only thing that is turning you off, maybe the problem is with you and not with your friend.