I'm a young, educated, American woman. Currently, i'm college student seeking my bachelor's in Journalism and Pre-Law, meaning most of my life revolves around school. But when I’m not on campus, I’m back home with my family. I have a mother, a father, a sister, and four cats. And my mother and father have always voted differently.

It’s a situation not necessarily unheard of. Then again, it’s not every day that I meet someone else who’s house is divided come election season. My father has always said that he and mom’s political differences would be good for my younger sister and I. In the long run, he was right. Dad knew that we would benefit from growing up around such a complex and sometimes turbulent political situation. He knew that it would teach us to listen and to not be so single minded. As we got older, Natalie and I started to realize that our parents were never going to agree on everything especially when it came to politics. My mother voted democrat and my father, - a fiscal conservative voted republican. They still do and probably always will. Now, I’d be lying if I said a couple of family dinners hadn’t turned into political debates, but at the same time, watching my parents vehemently disagree and then come to an eventual understanding on countless occasions taught Natalie and I the value of discussion but also to be thoughtful, critical thinkers, from a very young age.

As this has been such a chaotic year in American politics, i’ve been thinking about my parents a lot recently. They are a constant reminder that not everything is black and white. That there can be deep love even through vast difference. I have learned a lot about tolerance in my 20 years, a lot of that comes from my parents, who will be celebrating 27 years together, come next fall. Watching my parents all these has taught me that it’s so important not to villainize the other side. That if you try, you can almost always find common ground even when you don’t always agree with each other. Above all else, i’ve learned that if it’s true, real, unwavering love, you can get through any challenge you and your partner face. As we venture forward into 2017, remember that we are all human, just because someone votes differently does not mean that they are less of a compassionate, caring person. Do not let your politics keep you from forming good lasting relationships. It's not worth it. While this election may have brought out the worst in us, remember that regardless of which way you vote, love and understanding are universal and will always prevail.