Acknowledging different viewpoints important in political discussion


Editor’s Note: This article was completed as an assignment for a class in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Liberals are like the old saying goes: you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.

Although I am Republican, most of the people in my life are registered Democrats. I’m not sure why I do it to myself, because every conversation about politics I engage in with them with ends up making me want to literally pull my hair out strand by strand.

How do I refrain? Well, I don’t take anything too seriously or personally.

The first thing that people think when I say that I’m Republican is that I must have absolutely zero sense of humor. I’m always asked what I think of John Steward and Stephen Colbert, and when I say that I enjoy watching their shows and I think that both of them are funny, I’m given a look of shock.

What? A Republican thinks that left-wing satirists are funny?

Unheard of. Just because I’m not occupying Wall Street, buying a hybrid and replacing my roof with solar-powered shingles doesn’t mean I lack a sense of humor.

I’ve noticed a trend lately while sitting in various classes this semester, and it’s slowly made it’s way into my heart as my favorite way my Liberal classmates out themselves as Liberal without actually saying it. Fox News is probably the most hated news network by anyone who even begins to lean towards the left, and lately I’ve heard it referred to as “that other news network.”

Excuse me?

Fox News is not Voldemort from Harry Potter — it is not “the news network that shall not be named.” Feel free to call it Fox News, I promise I won’t think you’re any less of a Liberal.

To many, Republican automatically means I am part of the Tea Party and that I think the only person who can save the country is Sarah Palin. None of this is true. I’m not a scary, ultra-conservative Republican. I promise I don’t bite.

The other day I was meeting my friend at Radina’s Coffeehouse and Roastery for coffee. Now, before I get into this story I must start it off with a disclaimer. This particular friend and I have a pact: no talking about politics because it will ruin our friendship.

She is your typical TOMS Shoes wearing, Bob Marley-loving Liberal. I’m the exact opposite. I wear Sperry Topsiders to class daily and my favorite store is Tiffany & Co.

I’m not sure what possessed me to bring up the state of the nation’s economy, but for whatever reason, I did.

I mentioned how President Obama was raising the tax to 30 percent for everyone who makes over $1 million. I told my friend I was angry because America’s rich, who have basically been keeping our country from going under, will become few and far between, and (I was exaggerating on this next part) eventually all of us would have the same amount of money, an even playing field, if you will. What she said next shocked me.

“Well, what’s so bad about that?”

The look on my face said it all. I was dumbfounded and I wanted to pretend like she hadn’t just said what she said to me. I’m not here to say that she’s wrong for having her own opinion, because that would be wrong of me.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. My friend has hers; I have mine. They’re different.

I’ve been blessed enough to have surrounded myself with quite a few Liberals as close friends. From time to time they make me want to pull my hair out or question if what they just said actually came from their mouth, but it’s all in fun. In my opinion, too many people take politics too seriously.

Sure, it’s a serious thing, but I don’t think it’s serious enough for someone to detest another person because they’re Republican, or vice versa. Next time you encounter a Liberal (or a Conservative for that matter) that vexes you to your limit, take a deep breath and laugh. Politics shouldn’t be such a serious thing.