Politically speaking, we are living in incredibly polarizing times here in America.
It seems that no matter the issue, whether it be impeachment or abortion or school choice, the left and right have dug their heels in, refusing to budge on their positions. Some even view their opponents as “the enemy.”
Unlike middle–of–the–road types in politics and the mainstream media, I don’t view partisanship as a bad thing. Think about it: The reason why political parties exist is so groups of like-minded people can join forces to advance their agenda over another party’s. So it stands to reason that a party is partisan by nature.
In other words, there’s nothing wrong with standing firm on issues that are important to you.
That being said, not everyone standing on the other side of the aisle from you is your political “enemy.”
The phrase “common ground” is practically banned in hard-line left and right circles, but if you can find it without sacrificing your core beliefs, is finding common ground really a bad thing?
A criminal justice reform bill passed in 2018, receiving overwhelming bipartisan support from members of the House and Senate as well as conservative and liberal special interest groups. President Trump, a Republican, signed it into law.
But that’s in Washington, D.C. Can rank and file Republicans and Democrats across America really get along with each other, including during the holidays?
Of course they can. For some, the key is in not talking about politics too much — if at all. Especially at the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables.
For others, their relationships thrive on vigorous political debate, and they manage to do it without turning it into something acrimonious. After all, if people from opposing sides never talked to each other about politics, how would any minds get changed?
How would you come to understand and (sometimes!) respect the other side’s arguments, even if you still staunchly disagreed with them?
I can tell you based on firsthand experience that talking politics with your friends and even family members can work, depending on the approach they (and you) take.
For example, the wrong approach with me would be for someone on the left to assume that because I’m pro-life I’m “anti-woman.” I mean, I am a woman so being “anti-woman” would be self-defeating. In spite of that, you’d be surprised at how often that accusation gets thrown at conservative pro-life women. That and the insulting “you must enjoy being subservient to the patriarchy” argument.
On the flip side, for example, it’s not a good idea for conservatives to assume that someone on the left who disagrees with them on keeping the death penalty legal is someone who wants murderers to have it easy.
Sometimes — oftentimes … well, most of the time, a political disagreement among friends and family members and Average Joes and Janes across America is just that: A political disagreement. Nothing sinister about it at all.
It just involves well-intentioned people who either disagree on what constitutes a “problem” in America, who disagree on how to solve America’s problems, or a combination of both.
Even with all that in mind, I do caution people to not get involved in political conversations with the stereotypical “crazy uncle” around the holidays — if for no other reason than it might cause you to lose your appetite at the dinner table at a time when your mama is expecting you to eat large portions of her turkey dressing and pumpkin pie.
Because if there’s one thing partisan politics should never come in between it’s you and a good, old-fashioned, home-cooked meal with all the trimmings.
Stacey Matthews is a veteran blogger who has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to Red State and Legal Insurrection.