Growing up moving all around the country has its perks. Seeing a diversified version of the truth is the most crucial one of these. I have lived in places both where my opinion was the majority and where my opinion was the minority, with little exposure to a blend of each, which is precisely the problem. On each end of the political spectrum are people who have no idea or experience in what they’re talking about, only spewing recycled information to make the other side look bad. I have often been among these numbers of people, because winning an argument in the moment feels far better than being factual and actually getting a point across.

Of all people, I understand. Many people with more liberal politics, such as myself, are incredibly guilty of this; our smug and self-identified superior intelligence over our adversaries is just as harmful as we perceive our political opponent’s views to be. We are what we fight against. The importance of consideration and the recognition of a grey area comes into play here; to avoid this absolutist ideology, we must learn to at least try to see something from the other side. Seeing isn’t always believing, however; seeing and understanding someone’s point of view doesn’t mean that you have to be any less vocal in your beliefs - just that you have to acknowledge that other, valid ones also exist.

Before starting college, I lived in middle, mostly rural, Georgia for three years. Yes, Georgia is certainly a red state and yes, I was definitely in a red area, but it wasn’t as unbearable as you would think. I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where our politics are often referred to as a "bubble." Most people here have politics that lean pretty far to the left. There is no obvious right wing here, not one that is proud and not one that shows itself often.

In discussions with people here in San Francisco I would often find that they were the parallel of their conservative counterparts in Georgia; that they often spoke on their beliefs with incredible bias and no actual fact, and that they couldn’t understand why someone would believe the opposite way. In San Francisco, if you voted for Trump, you are a bad person, and someone who hates minorities and is a Nazi.

While I disagree with voting for Trump, I can’t reconcile the people I know and love from back home who, yes, voted for Trump, with this perception that people here cultivate; just as I can’t reconcile people here with vegan crybabies who hate America, as many people down south warned me about before I moved here. Don’t get me wrong, its refreshing to be around people who sustain my beliefs so I don’t have to fight anymore; I just worry about assuming everyone I speak to will agree with me and won’t challenge my beliefs.

I’m asking people on both ends of the spectrum to understand that a differing belief doesn’t equate the person who holds that belief with the human embodiment of evil, that realities for people in different spheres of political influence is vastly varied, and usually cultivated by their environment. I urge you to look at a person holistically, at how they act and speak to determine their quality, not at what they believe.