What To Do When Your Politics Are Different Than Your Family's
My parents are voting one way; I’m voting another. Or I want to, anyway. But they bring it up constantly. They ask me who I’m voting for (even though I’ve told them) and ask me why I’m voting the way I am (I’ve told them that too), and almost make fun of me for believing in the things I do. I love my parents and I respect their beliefs, and it’s hurtful they don’t respect mine. How can I get through the next month?
There's pretty much nothing more awkward to talk about with your family than politics. And if the thought of bringing up an election—any election, really, but especially this one—at the dinner table makes you want to skip dinner until November 8th, we’re right there with you.
Politics are totally polarizing. And the worst part is that there’s no convincing someone to switch sides. It’s hard to change people’s minds about anything, but politics are basically impossible. In fact, an NPR study showed that misinformed people rarely change their minds even when they’re faced with the facts. They’re literally proven wrong, and yet they’ll keep on believing what they want. Your family should know better than to try to change your mind, and it’s hurtful that they can’t respect how you want to vote even though you clearly respect their choice.
The best way to deal with parents (or cousins, or grandparents) who have different political beliefs is to do your best to remain open-minded. Whether they’re the type to blab on and on about their favorite candidate, or defiantly state, “I’m voting for [fill in the blank here]” and end the convo, there’s no real point in arguing. Instead, hear them out, and then if you feel comfortable enough to share your views too, go right ahead. Stay confident, and don't waver on your beliefs just because they see things differently.
This election is particularly divisive because the candidates think oppositely on such different ideals and values: from gun control to mental health, immigration to women’s health. These are issues that affect us every single day, so it’s especially tough when someone you love supports a candidate who represents something you despise aren’t quiiiiite as into.
One of our readers (whose identity we'll keep on the DL because the last thing we want to do is further a family rift) told us about how she deals with this firsthand. She votes by issue; they mark their ballot based solely on party. “[My parents] vote Democrat and never Republican even if they hate the candidate while I'm open to who best represents me and my ideals. It's hard to watch them be so stubborn and passive during voting times when I care so much!" Keep on caring! Apathy—or worse, utter hopelessness—is exactly what you can't let people with opposing views cause you to feel.
And if all else fails, just keep in mind: Only 31 days to go.