OPINION: Keep your humanity while remaining political

Divide between American voters has forced people to choose between their humanity, identity in this year’s election



Don’t let politics turn you away from your humanity — stay connected with your neighbors, even if their political leanings may differ from yours.

MEGHAN HENRY, Evergreen managing editor

As we draw closer to Nov. 3, the rifts between political parties grow deeper in our country. Among the youngest voters, there is an inability to ignore our political beliefs when it comes to our relationships because, put simply, where we stand politically has become a question of our humanity.

For those who recognize this connection, it has forced us to question if we can separate our personal lives and our politics. However, I believe we would be prioritizing politics over our humanity by doing so.

For many voters, it is terrifying to imagine another four years of reduced protected lands and narcissistic policies that strain relationships with long-standing international allies.   It’s difficult to imagine a drastically multiplying national debt and civil unrest over racial inequality that has lasted far too long. It’s especially disheartening to see hundreds of thousands of Americans dying due to lack of foresight and trust in medical professionals.

We have lost all trust and reliability in the president. As a result, politics have become an influential part of peoples’ lives out of pure necessity.

We are pleading for someone to right the course of our country. We are pleading for a human being. We seem to have lost all humanity in the wake of the last four years; slowly being numbed to shocking accusations and the spewing of unsupported information.

Now, young people are asking the question of where the connection between our political leanings and our relationships begin. But I think the real question we should be asking is if we should separate the two.

“Something unsettling about this current election is the extent to which it has separated individuals from each other,” wrote Sophie Mendoza, junior psychology major, in an email.

Some believe we should be able to remain friends with people we disagree with politically. Others outright oppose this notion because of the inhumane and fundamental wrongness of the actions of the current presidential candidates.

There seems to be no in between, but for Mendoza, this isn’t the case.

“We cannot assume that someone who is in the other side of the political party has bad intentions for themselves and others,” Mendoza wrote. “I constantly try to stay open-minded and accepting of others and I think that’s the only way to get through all of this.”

Jared Holstad, junior political science major, said he agrees when it comes to the way he has seen politics affect our generation specifically.

Holstead said for some issues, it’s understandable that people might not want to be friends with someone they disagree with.

But Holstad also makes a good point about constructive debate.

“I think it’s great to disagree with people. But I think that is just the first step [in discovering your personal political beliefs],” Holstad said. “That’s why I really like politics. I like when people disagree because that’s where you learn something. That’s where, once I disagree with someone, I get to see why. And I get to see a whole new school of thought.”

And he’s right. There has always been disagreement in politics. And for young people, especially in this election, the choice between one side or the other seems to be the biggest tell of what kind of people we are.

For many, the discovery of our political leanings is part of the ultimate discovery of who we are, and it is a big move in our lives. But that doesn’t mean we have to let it be the thing we allow to decide all future interactions.

I do believe that things like racism, anti-choice beliefs and misogynism are basic character traits that have — with this president — become political leanings rather than things our democracy tries to fight. For some, there can only be support or outright dismissal of these ideas.

You either support an openly racist, misogynistic leader, or you don’t.

Ultimately, it is natural for us to realize that our thoughts are a big part of who we are and who we are becoming. I don’t believe we can fully separate ourselves from people around us simply for that reason, and I don’t think we can truly seek humanity-first politics without realizing that we might all have something to learn from others.