Since the 2016 election, people are putting politics first when it comes to attraction. A recent article in Quartz highlights that daters in increasing numbers are coming clean about their political beliefs. And also telling those who don’t agree to move on.
“Swipe left if you’re a Trump supporter” say some dating profiles. Other online daters are turned off by the opposite: the so-called “liberal snowflakes.” Before two people have met, before they have swiped left or right, or flirted, or even had sex, they are judged.
If we can’t bridge the political divide with dating, how can we expect to talk rationally with each other in our day-to-day lives?
I write about this topic for Huffington Post, because I believe there is room in love for differing political views.
The real problem seems to be that political beliefs are now also tied up with a person’s morals and values. That is, if you support one side, you are considered morally corrupt by the other. There’s no room for gray areas. This can be dangerous as we become more divided as a nation.
In our history, romantic love has brought people together. Love is the fighting force behind LGBTQ rights and progress, and the fight for equal rights. Loving vs. Virginia brought about the legalization of interracial marriage in the US.
Historically, love wins. It opens hearts and minds.
But let’s get personal: how many of you have dealt with the stress of bringing your partner home to your family, wondering whether or not he will be accepted? There are STILL so many prejudices, so many ways to divide us as a community, but romantic love is the thing that brings us together, that builds bridges between groups of warring tribes.
I don’t mean to sound naive, like we should just talk it out and hold hands. It’s not easy for love to enter a heated political conversation. There’s a lot of hate out there, too. But if you were to choose – would you rather find someone you love who isn’t quite the person your friends and family pictured – or even who you pictured – or would you rather hold on to your righteous beliefs? Can a so-called Republican also hold progressive beliefs, and a Democrat understand some conservative leanings? I don’t think anyone is so rigid, so black and white.
I’m a political activist. I believe deeply in moving forward as a country, in helping others, and in fighting for democracy. I’m very liberal in my beliefs. But my family is divided – some Republican, some Democrat. And we all have to sit at the table together. We are compelled to talk about our differences. We talked politics before the 2016 election, and we do now. That hasn’t gone away. We’re not changing anyone’s minds. We still hug each other at the end of the meal. But still, there is this divide.
We can’t shut anyone out. We must keep talking, we must make politics personal.
Politics is personal when it comes to love.
Instead of refusing to date someone from the other political party, make a point to sit down and have a drink with them. Get to know your dates as individuals. Hold your judgment. Open your heart and mind. This is the only way to move forward, to create a more functional environment where we all have to live.
I came across this beautiful Heineken commercial that depicts this perfectly – how getting to know someone on a personal level can help alter your beliefs, can allow you to open up. I urge you to watch it. We must find ways of breaking through our divide, of returning to conversation. Especially when we date.
Peace and love,