"She's a crook!"
Yup. I get this practically every time I log on Facebook or walk into a family party. Whether it’s directed at me or just in general, my family typically hates Hillary.
Growing up in a politically conservative county, I grew up on the notion that Obama is probably the anti-christ and that life is being taxed out of people. When I left home to attend school in Washington, D.C., I started my personal education about politics. I soon realized that I was being fed lies. Soon enough, I developed opinions that couldn’t stomach the ones of my childhood.
Nonetheless, I had to go home at some point. After my parents tried to talk me out of registering as a democrat, they realized I actually knew what I was talking about. They learned to respect our differences, to an extent. My extended family and older friends back home are another story.
So, here’s how to live when you’re living as a liberal in a conservative household and/or community.
- Don’t try to convince your grandparents that Trump is Satan. Once they bought his buttons, it’s pretty much all over.
- If they try to bait you, avoid it. If someone is trying to push your buttons, they don’t want to engage in an intellectual conversation that is capable of changing their opinions, they just want to yell at you.
- Know your family and friends. If you want to engage in a conversation with your family or family friends, make sure they are capable of having that conversation. If you tell Aunt Sally that you like Obama and she says that he is ruining our country, ask why. If she can’t answer that intelligently, walk away.
- Make sure YOU know what you’re talking about. If you are voting for Hillary but can’t speak about her policies, sit down, get informed, and start over.
- Don’t demonize people. If you tell your Trump supporting mom she’s an ignorant fool (which I did), you need to take a chill pill. Pitting parties against one another does nothing but hurt people. Parties shouldn’t be working against each other (which they frequently do), they should be working together for one great America. Don’t fuel a fire. Remember you both want a country that is nice to live in. How that looks might be very different for you and the person you’re talking to, but you both live here and need to work together.
- Don’t write people off. Just because someone is old or fairly ignorant doesn’t mean they get a free pass in an intellectual discussion. Also, don't try to convince your grandparents something different from their views but you have a benign conversation about the issues. Don’t start political, start with a story. When I wanted to share my ideas about immigration with my grandparents, if I started with “Trump is wrong about the wall because….” that would have ended in a fight. Instead, I told them about my experience I had at the Mexican American border. I told them what I saw. Tell people what you read or witness about the issues. If you want to change people, talk about issues before candidates. People aren’t set in their ways, they just need a gentle conversation that isn’t at least out right trying to change them.
- If you wear your Bernie or Hillary shirt home, know what you’re getting yourself into.
- As much as you want to rip your neighbor’s “TRUMP, Pence” sign out of their lawn, don’t.
- When posting political things on Facebook, understand that it’s important, but controversial. People will respond with different opinions, sometimes in a disrespectful way. If you can be polite, respond if you want. If you can’t, which I know to be true about myself frequently, don’t respond. If you have to, change the settings of your posts so certain people can’t see it.
- Don’t post things bashing the other side. If you do post negative (anti-___ opposed to pro-___) things, make sure they’re respectful.
- If you and your parents, or anyone else, can’t talk about politics in a civil way, agree to not bring it up.
- Last but not least, take a deep breath. Everything will be decided in a matter of months.