As we near election day for the free world leader, you may be asked, are you a republican or democrat? Conservative or liberal? Pro this or against that? All of which matter, but not like you may think they do.
The noteworthiness of politics, specifically in American history, cannot be denounced. It must be remembered and memorialized, as we learn from our past, both good and bad. The constitution is supposed to be adhered to in the United States, and in many ways it is, but in others, it isn't. Perhaps the most famous and powerful quote from the constitution is, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.." It's one of my favorite sayings ever.
Its significance is second to none, considering it is the very means by which many Americans have chosen to live according to, and many lost their lives upholding, throughout history. The saying has drawn much speculation from different citizens of the United States. Some believe we don't always stick to it, considering the racial, economic, and societal issues that continue to plague our nation. For example, a few years ago, a situation involving a famous professional basketball player, LeBron James, and Fox News journalist, Laura Ingraham. Ingraham infamously told James to "shut up and dribble," after the athlete spoke out about racial issues that persist in our country and politics in general.
This story carries significant weight because it doesn't uphold the saying mentioned above. This country, and the freedoms that come with it, was built upon the backs of individuals that sought and ultimately made a difference, such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., who both established major racial changes, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who fought for women's rights, and the many who've advocated for freedom of speech and religion. Meaning, these individuals supported any person to speak their mind, regardless of their background.
As you can see from the James and Ingraham example and the lives of the individuals above, political discourse can be a sure-fire way to create divisiveness. Politics often play a role in the relationships of families, penetrating even the closest of them. Because typically, people identify with a specific political party and what they believe it stands for. Notice I say what they think it stands for because many people are misinformed on what truly takes place behind the scenes in politics and usually only go off what the media shows them. However, even those who do their research often resonate with one specific side of the political spectrum and run with it, even disregarding their family members' ideas and thoughts as a result.
This type of divisiveness inside of a family or out is not productive for a democracy. A democracy, as a collective, throws different thoughts and ideas at the wall, allowing the most thorough and effective among them to stick. When it comes to political discourse, we must realize our differences don't have to separate and land us on opposite sides of the spectrum. If observed thoughtfully, our differences can enhance viewpoints and will bring us together if we allow them to.
As election day nears, you may find yourself embroiled in conversations with your parents, coworkers, friends, and even your significant other, about who to elect and which policies matter most. But don't let your differences tear you apart. Often, they can bring you even closer. We have all had very different experiences growing up, which have led us to this point. You can't outright blame someone for being a product of their environment. However, you can bring up your ideas in a thoughtful manner and attempt to give the recipient insight as to why you believe what you believe and how you think a shift in their mindset might benefit them.
But as stated, and as a citizen of the United States, we all have free will to believe whatever we want. So the next time you discuss politics with someone close to you, let them say their piece, say yours, and let bygones be bygones. If their thoughts and beliefs go against the very bane of your existence, then maybe you should reconsider your relationship. But if they don't, and you are both just equally passionate about what you believe in, don't let politics take rule over your relationship. Because political discourse will always go on with or without you, but relationships won't.