It’s not a completely uncommon situation: You go out with someone for a while, find happiness and fun in their company, get to know them better and better… and then one day, you find out you disagree with them politically. For Millennials, this might some in the discovery that your date is a Donald Trump supporter. What do you do, then?
Among Millennials, 49% were Hillary Clinton supporters during the election period, according to Bloomberg. Trump had 21% (the remaining were Third Party voters). So when Millennials date Millennials, chances are they’re both not fond of the current US President.
But if you’re one that discovers your date supports Donald Trump? Here’s some advice: don’t dump them, at least not right off the bat.
Communication Is Key
The instinct to dump a Trump supporter comes from a clear place: the projection that, because they support Trump, they also agree with the negativity he has been known to spout. Trump has earned quite a few labels over the years: racist, misogynist, xenophobe, and well, stupid. This does not, however, mean your date is on his side in those matters. For women, this is especially true for your boyfriend’s stance on Trump’s derogatory comments on women.
This is where the concept of democracy often manifests itself in a micro view, as opposed to the macro (national) scope. Disagreeing with someone on something – politics, especially – doesn’t discount the rest of their personality, beliefs, or actions.
Time Magazine writer Nate Hopper recounts the pre-election story of a friend – a Hillary supporter – who had gone out with a new date. He had enjoyed his date’s company: they laughed together, they kept in touch, and by all accounts, things seemed to be going well. That is, until he discovered she was a Trump supporter. He stopped keeping in touch after that.
That attitude is problematic, because that friend allowed his date’s political opinion to color the rest of her. In so doing, he failed at the process of communication.
Bigots, Bigots Everywhere
People toss the word bigotry around quite a lot lately. Generally from the side of those opposing Trump, who call out his America-first policies to be intolerant of refugees, foreigners, or in some cases, women.
However, by refusing to bridge gaps, one unknowingly practices bigotry themselves. When you treat someone differently after learning of their political opinion, and especially if you cut them out altogether, no matter how much you liked them before, you’re manifesting intolerance.
Remember the art of persuasion. Remember the practice of communication. We bridge differences by reaching out, and not by pushing someone away.