Managing political strife in your life

Candidates spew tasteless remarks on national television, and our dinner table conversations revolve around these colorful political assertions. This year’s election is one for the books.

Although the University of San Diego has a small student body, it is diverse enough to represent opposing bureaucratic views. This in turn generates political strife and a contention for political superiority among some students and their social circles.

One of the recent hot-button issues students have dealt with is whether they can remain amiable to their friends even though both have opposing political views.

Some students believe political strife does not interfere with their relationships. However, there are others who think a fixed political perspective is a deal breaker.

Senior Stavros Markakis believes it’s disturbing when someone is regularly pushing their political agenda.

“I don’t think it’s a deal breaker,” Markakis said. “But I’d say if someone was constantly shoving those views in my face I’d probably start to get annoyed and might change things.”

On the other hand, senior Myléne Macias thinks that this issue of political strife in relationships is more than meets the eye.

“I think it’s a complicated question,” Macias said. “It depends on which parts. For example, if you’re dating, it is probably best to agree on pro-life or pro-choice. But overall the biggest part is that the other person be capable of having respect for your point of view.”

This brings us back to the topic of bureaucracy. All things equal, it seems that most voters want to endorse a candidate that will focus on the well-being of our nation. The problem is that our criteria for electing a president differs from person to person, which is why it can be hard for us to remain calm when our dearest friends denounce our political stance.

Senior Miroslava Gomez believes that the stability of a friendship is rooted within each person’s principles.

“There’s a different divide in relationships and friendships,” Gomez said. “It usually depends on how long the friendship has been; you’ll know whether it’s ok to talk politics or not. My friends and I actually have the same political values and can agree on many of the same principles which is why we are allowed to talk about it without getting offended.”

All things considered, here are three suggestions on how to deal and cope with political strife in your relationships.

First, try to tolerate opposing views. Essentially, you are going to have to agree to disagree. We are all wired differently and have different motives for why we vote a certain way. You may have to acknowledge that not everyone shares your perspectives, and that’s okay. There’s no need to act hostile about it.

Avoid imposing your political agenda on your friends. Political conversations between friends and family aren’t really about who is right and who is wrong. Instead, they’re an opportunity to engage in challenging yet meaningful conversation. Who knows, you might learn from one another.

Second, try to focus and hone in on commonalities. Yes, talking about politics can be troublesome and may jumpstart a roller coaster ride of emotions. Ask yourselves the purpose behind your vote. Again, be prepared to listen with an open mind and with curiosity.

There is no denying that there might be differences between you and your peers. Political disagreement is not necessarily a bad thing.

Lastly, if worse comes to worst, let things cool down. Allow for some healing time in your relationship. Also, holding grudges against your peers can divide your camaraderie more than it may bridge a friendship. Give your peers the space to say whatever needs to be said, and listen carefully to what they say.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stand your ground and that you should buy into to everyone’s political agenda. It’s your constitutional right to express yourself just as much as they do. Voicing your opinions is just as significant as listening to others, so don’t opt out.

Tolerating political controversies, when it deals with friends and family, depends on the foundation the relationships are built on and how you handle conflict. Giving mutual respect when you disagree and valuing others opinions, thoughts, and worldviews is absolutely necessary when making critical decisions such as this election. Friendships have more to do with yourself and your character than the other person and his or her character.

The next time your friend approaches you and invites you to talk about politics, kindly accept the invitation. Keep in mind that you might not agree, but there’s no need to be bitter about it. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Don’t be that thoughtless person. Let’s be adults and agree to not stifle dissent but to welcome it.

By Diego Luna, Managing Editor