Political Affiliations are Representative of Values


Amid the 2020 election, political tensions were at an all-time high (Courtesy of Pia Fischetti).

Emma Lipkind, Opinion Editor

As citizens of a nation, division should never be what we aim for. Of course, unity holds a superior priority, but it is even more important that all people in a nation bear equity to one another. Focusing on the unity narrative can often throw the fight toward equality off its rightful track, diluting the severity of issues that are ingrained in American soil. 

In today’s world, politics undoubtedly encompass issues of civil and equal rights. Knowing this, we must all recognize the power we have as young individuals to have difficult discussions about what plagues this country, and that goes far beyond division due to political parties. Perhaps in the past people could distinguish a nation’s economic policies from the equality of its people, but that is no longer the case. Ignoring the fact that social justice issues go hand in hand with America’s economy as well as all other factors of society is detrimental to the well-being of our nation. 

Every time I eat dinner with my Republican family, all they see is a Democrat prepared to shoot down their opinions. It’s painful and challenging to maintain close and amiable relations with my family because political beliefs are more than just beliefs: They influence the treatment of all Americans. 

There is a fine line someone like me has to balance. I am tasked with simultaneously keeping healthy ties with my family while also understanding that their political ideations are immoral and harmful to society. If I push too hard and sever ties, not only am I losing my family, but I am also losing the opportunity to have painful but necessary conversations with them. 

People often say it’s impossible to change someone’s mind unless they want to change it themself, and I agree. My goal is not to force people to believe the same things I do. Rather, I want to engage in well-informed, respectful discussions that allow people to see a different perspective. This will hopefully allow them to come to a conclusion supported by facts rather than prejudices, conspiracies and misconstrued information. 

Ultimately, my relationship with my family is strained. How can it not be when they often grossly disrespect people who don’t look like us under the guise of their political affiliations? But I’m not going to cut them off, for that would further perpetuate the vacuum in which they already harbor their beliefs. Nor am I going to be quiet when they allow their political affiliations to turn into hateful derogatories. I will not speak for the people they disrespect, but I will sternly remind them that being part of a certain party in 2020, after Donald Trump’s presidency being one of the most divisive America has ever experienced, means more than wanting a small or large government.

Politicians working across the aisle are nearly unheard of in today’s political climate. This indicates a change in America’s two-party system: There is no longer enough overlap between the parties’ beliefs to allow cooperation to occur. This is entirely a problem of its own that needs to be addressed urgently. However, claiming people must unite for the sheer sake of working together is not only equivalent to slapping a Band-Aid on a severe wound, but also representative of privilege that some people are not fortunate enough to have.

We must not generalize individuals siding with certain political parties, but there are distinct patterns which indicate the values of the parties. That is exactly why politics are no longer a conceptual entity saved for high-power people on Capitol Hill. If you are lucky enough to go extended amounts of time without thinking about politics, there is potential for you to reevaluate what politics means for you. At the end of the day, all aspects of American politics are linked, including equal rights for everyone. While we work to reconcile the division that has been created, we must keep in mind that politics are affecting people’s lives, even if those lives aren’t your own. 

Emma Lipkind, FCRH ’23, is an international political economy major from Holland, Penn.