A Country Divided


Graphic by Grace O’Neil

Ava Charnley, Staff writer

The 2020 election has been one we will never forget. In some ways, it has been a privilege to witness such a historical election, but in other ways it has been a curse. The “who really won the election” discussion has consumed the vast majority of our lives these past couple of weeks. And, let’s be honest, the political conflicts have been ongoing for four years now. However, the real tragedy amidst all of this is the wedge it is putting between friends, family, and acquaintances. 


Why does this election have to harm our relationships? Our views may be different, maybe even our lifestyles, I may not have the same opinion on topics such as abortion, climate change, or how COVID-19 should be handled, but I do know one thing, the person reading this has every right to their political opinions and their vision for America’s future. 


Personally, my family is politically split, making it hard for them to come to an agreement on certain issues, especially during the whirlwind that followed the political debates and the election. The debates were something to be reckoned with. They are supposed to be a time for the candidates to show the public their point of view on topics that are vital to the United States and the people. However, the candidates this year were anything but subtle on their opinions, making snarky remarks and personal attacks on one another. Then the  public went to picking sides and defending the rights and wrongs of the debate. And then BOOM! Bring on the doubt, the fear, the frustration, the anger.


In my family, we are no longer allowed to discuss political opinions at family gatherings. This is because we can not respectfully disagree. Looking back I know now you can not change another person’s opinion with force or with sheer will power. You can only explain and hope that person hears your side of the story. 


There is no easy answer to this problem. One suggestion is to simply remain open minded because one’s opinion should not be deemed inferior by another, one’s way of thinking should not be deemed wrong, and one’s reason for expressing themselves should never end in a battle of harmful words. 


This election may have failed in many ways, but it has succeeded in dividing the people I care about. Respect each other’s views and opinions, and respect one another. This country, and our family and friends, should not be divided on political opinions, sexual orientation, race, or gender identification. Before you find yourself thinking your opinion is superior, before you find yourself thinking that only your ideas are right, truly listen to the other side’s opinion. Attempt to understand their words and respect them even if you don’t agree. Just simply remember to be a good human being.