WHAT I LEARNED FROM LIVING WITH MY POLAR OPPOSITE

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Submitted Date 02/27/2019
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My roommate is one of my best friends in the world. I can’t stop joking and laughing when I’m around her and I’m truly grateful to have someone like her in my life. However, we could not be more opposite, politically speaking at least. I’m so liberal that I embarrass other liberals and she’s so conservative that my eighty-six year old Catholic grandmother probably wouldn’t even agree with everything she believes (or posts on Facebook).

As Americans, we live in an increasingly polarized society and even though we think that we live lives rich in diversity, that may not be true for all. According to a recent study done by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and The Atlantic, under a quarter of Americans claim that they very rarely or never interact with individuals who do not share their same political affiliation. Although, a small percentage, it’s still shocking to know that some people can become so isolated.

That same study showed that 45% of American Democrats would be upset if their child married someone from a different political background in relation to 35% of Republicans. A shockingly high percentage, but not entirely surprising. The terms ‘Democrat’ and ‘Republican’ no longer just hold slight implications about what one’s political beliefs might be, but they have become labels that define almost every aspect of our lives. There are plenty of preconceived judgements coming from both sides, so I don’t feel the need to list them here.

I have to admit, I’m very guilty of having judgements about people just based on their political ideology. I do think that an individual’s true morals can come out in their political beliefs, but I don’t believe that they should be completely defined by them. Personally, I wouldn’t want someone to judge my whole character based on who I voted for. I’m so much more than that and I’d like for others to get the chance to know me before making any assumptions.

If I didn’t follow my roommate on social media, I honestly wouldn’t know half of the things that she believes. To be honest, we don’t talk about politics all that much. Not because we’re actively trying to avoid it, but simply because we’re too busy goofing around and enjoying eachothers company. We don’t necessarily have the kind of relationship that includes having intense debates about political and social issues everyday.

Even though we might not agree on much politically or in general, my roommate and I have been able to sustain a great relationship because we don’t let our egos get in the way of being friends. If I thought she was a terrible, racist bigot, that would be different, but I’ve never once thought of her that way. I’ve never seen her treat someone unkindly or with disrespect. She’s continuously been a good friend to me and others in her life and that’s what I’ve decided to judge her on.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t stand up against injustices and question the social norms that oppress so many people in this country, but maybe arguing on Facebook and cutting everyone out of our lives who doesn’t agree with us, isn’t the way to go. Education is our greatest tool and the more we educate others in our lives, the more we can come to a common understanding of one another. We can still have good relationships with people who we don’t agree with, we can love people we don’t agree with, and we can accept people we don’t agree with.

By loving one another unconditionally, we’re sending a message of unity and peace. A message that transcends political affiliation and opinion. How can we expect to create a better world for our children while constantly fighting amongst each other? Let’s work harder, love harder and come together despite our differences.

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  • James D. 6 months, 3 weeks ago

    I agree completely. Politics can be so divisive. People should be judged by their character, not their political views.

    • Sarah Urbanic 6 months, 1 week ago

      I agree :) Thanks for the feedback!

  • Tomas Chough 6 months, 3 weeks ago

    This happens so much it's overwhelming. I can feel it happening in my own group of friends constantly, and it's not getting any better. It'd be great if everyone could just calm down a bit and take into account what you're saying here. Even though politics play a huge roll in our lives, that can't be all life's about. The way you wrote this message was very wise and clear. I hope a lot of people read it. Thanks so much for writing and sharing this Sarah!

    • Sarah Urbanic 6 months, 1 week ago

      Thanks for your input :) It means a lot to know that my writing resonates with people!

  • Miranda Fotia 6 months ago

    This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t stand up against injustices and question the social norms that oppress so many people in this country, but maybe arguing on Facebook and cutting everyone out of our lives who doesn’t agree with us, isn’t the way to go.
    I see so much negativity and hate on FB...it's crazy. The most recent offensive one I saw recently said that all Democrats are baby killers. It was so upsetting to know that a person in my life feels this way about me. I wish more people would learn how to be civil with their opposition. It's so sad the way things have changed so drastically since 2016.

    • Sarah Urbanic 6 months ago

      You're definitely right about that. I had to just delete it altogether because it was just getting to be too much. People can so easily make these insane statement online, but would never say it to your face. It's so easy to dehumanize people when you don't know them.