Okay. Here's the thing that I really need you all to understand.
There have been a ton of pictures going around lately of friends taking pictures together, one of whom supports a candidate of one party, and the other a candidate of another. The sentiment of such photos is almost always along the lines of, "real maturity" or "real friendship is not caring about differences in political opinion" or "not caring how our friends vote" because "friendship and/or family matters most."
Here's the thing, though. There is so. much. privilege. inherent in this mindset.
As I wrote in my last article, choosing to put politics aside and meet in the middle is a huge example of privilege, and here's why: Could you really just laugh and agree to disagree with someone who believes that you should be deported? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who wants to take away your access to healthcare? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who thinks it's more important to sell more guns than allow you to practice your religion? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who thinks you should be fired and without access to care because of who you loved? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who thinks the best way to support you after your child was murdered going to school is to say that there should be more people with guns? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who wants to take away your rights to your own body?
Look yourself in the face and ask yourself, honestly: Could you just laugh and agree to disagree with someone who supports candidates whose actions literally threaten your life and well-being every single day?
Probably not. As I say in the article aforementioned, if you are able to "put politics aside" and "focus on what really matters," or "don't be a democrat or republican, just treat your friends with respect and that's all that matters," then you aren't aware of the huge amount of privilege you have by simply existing the way you do. Your life, family, well-being, and safety aren't going to be threatened by the people who may write and carry out the laws of this country.
There are posts all over the place, even post-election day, that champion friends or acquaintances "putting their differences aside" and "agreeing to disagree" as being what America "needs more of" right now. But I implore you to realize that this is not something to strive for. These decisions we make continue to contribute to the disenfranchisement of POC, LGBTQIA+ people, immigrants, etc. Doing this equalizes "rooting" for certain candidates and parties to something as inconsequential as a sports team. Those who run our country and whom we elect have real power to ruin peoples' lives. Doing this normalizes privilege and labels those protesting as uncivil.
Being supportive and loving each other "no matter whom they vote for" are two different things. Your vote is a moral issue. If you really loved your neighbors, you'd listen to why those disenfranchised groups are protesting in the first place. Your vote is bigger than agreeing to disagree. It has the power to change lives, for better or for worse. Remember, the personal is political.