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Sunday, 01 May 2016 07:23

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Don't Let the Next President Ruin Your Friendships

Election years are rarely defined by the word “unity,” and this one even less so. It isn’t simply along party lines either. Granted, there is a wide rift between Democrats and Republicans but the division goes much deeper than that.

On the Democratic side, those who “feel the Bern” aren’t feeling Hillary at all and the feeling is mutual. On the Republican side, the dividing line runs along multiple currents. On the one hand there’s the Trump camp and then there's all the rest of the Republicans, but even among those who just want to deny Trump the nomination, there are strong divisions.

You have only to spend a few minutes on Facebook to see how little respect any one camp has for the other (if this isn’t the case then you’ve probably already surrounded yourself with those who only think like you do), but Facebook seems to be filling a need.

Most of us have been taught that there are certain topics you just don’t bring up in polite society, religion and politics being the two biggest elephants that we don’t want in the living room. However, it seems that we have a deep need to express our opinions and Facebook gives us enough distance and anonymity to override our upbringing. I would guess that this election year will be responsible for a whole lot of unfriending.

One of the keys to successfully surviving this election period without losing too many friends is “understanding." Those who disagree with your political views aren’t ill-willed villains intent on destroying your way of life. They, like you, earnestly believe that they are choosing a candidate who can solve at least some of the problems we are facing as a nation. They, like you, are convinced that the person they believe should be our next president is the best qualified to run the country. You may believe that they don’t have all the facts but, then again, they’re pretty much convinced that you don’t either.

Yelling, screaming and name-calling have never, to my knowledge, convinced anyone. Careful, logical, evidence-based arguments, on the other hand, can at least plant seeds.

At the end of the day (or at the end of the election), whoever ends up as president might be influencing your life through his or her policies, but your friends and family are going to be sharing your life, with any luck, for a long time to come.

Rob Vajko lives in Purdy.

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