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Politics shouldn't affect relationships

Have you noticed the incessant Facebook posting and tweets regarding this year’s Presidential election? For some reason, a larger portion of the general public and in my opinion, a larger portion of our generation, is paying greater attention to the elections this year. While I think it’s awesome that so many citizens are thinking about who will run the country, I also think there are a few general thoughts or guidelines that people should consider when discussing politics or thinking about the upcoming elections.
First of all, don’t take politics personally.
If one person has an opposing opinion, don’t get upset and don’t act dramatic. There is no need to make personal jabs based on political views. It’s perfectly OK to disagree. Being a liberal in Mississippi, I’ve learned that it’s very common for people to disagree with you, and that’s okay. I don’t take it personally that people think differently than I do.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly get mad; however, I don’t show my emotions.
There’s no reason to be openly mad that someone disagrees with you. In high school, my guidance counselor was (and is) the polar opposite of me. We discussed politics all the time, however, we never let it get in the way of our friendship or working relationship. Today, we continue to discuss politics often, and we still respect one another. I’m her favorite Democrat, and she’s my favorite Republican.
Thankfully, we live in America where everyone can have his or her own views. I understand that we all have passions behind our beliefs, but we should all respect differing opinions. I am thankful everyday for our soldiers who fought for our freedom – especially our political freedom. We deserve to respect one another’s views and thereby respect the hard-fought battles of our many armed forces.
So, the next guideline when discussing politics is: don’t hide behind social media. Yes, social media is meant to be a social platform where people can discuss ideas and even voice their political thoughts. If you’re brave enough to post your thoughts on Facebook though, I urge you to be brave enough to voice your concerns in class, in public, or with your real friends. Even in situations where you feel outnumbered, stand up for what you believe. Don’t allow others to dominate the conversation or to assume that you think the same way they do.
Lastly, I urge everyone to be informed. If you know me or if you follow my column, you know that I identify as a fairly liberal democrat. While I’m biased in my own political beliefs, I do respect the views of every informed person. If you want to vote Mitt Romney for President, you’ve done the research, and you have legitimate reasons as to why you want to vote for him, I totally respect that. But, if you’re voting for Mitt Romney because your friends are or because that’s what your parents told you to do, I don’t support that. The same concept applies if you’re voting for Barack Obama. Once again, too many people have died protecting our freedoms for you not to have informed decisions regarding elections and our government.
Essentially, respect the opinions of others. Don’t get upset if people disagree with you, and be an informed voter. There’s no reason for people to get mad over differing opinions, and there’s certainly no reason for opposing viewpoints to affect a relationship.

Adam Blackwell is a junior public policy leadership major from Natchez. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBlackwell1.