View Full Version : The great divide in America!
10-02-2007, 06:45 PM
Republicans, do you have many Democratic friends?
Democrats, do you have many Republican friends?
The way things are portrayed in the media there is a huge divide between Dems and Pubs in politics but is this also true socially?
10-02-2007, 07:05 PM
Hard to give a certain answer. I have friends whose politics I am seriously in disagreement with, but with those friends I don't discuss public policy. We get along by pretending we are apolitical
With some people, it seems political discussions can't be avoided, and I can't think of any emphatic Pubs who are my friends.
I think that may be changing a bit, as even many conservative Pubs have recoiled from the sheer incompetence of the Bush administration. And others who believe that Bush is betraying their conservative values as much as he is my liberal ones. Also, there are many fewer people who identify as Pubs these days, more of them are calling themselves independents or simply conservatives.
Still, last time I checked, about 75% of self-identifying Pubs still say Bush is doing a good job as president. I find it hard to believe that they and I are members of the same species.
10-02-2007, 07:08 PM
Voter turnout in US prez elections have been hovering around 50-60% for the last decade or so, so I guess it's safe to surmise that a significant percentage of the population are not too worried about it all.
10-02-2007, 07:12 PM
I've only got a few friends and they're all socially progressive but I would assume most or at least a good portion of my extended social circle is conservative and possibly even Republican but since I don't discuss politics with them that often, I'm just guessing.
10-02-2007, 07:20 PM
I'm fiercely liberal and I live with one Democrat and two Republicans. These two particular Pubs are nice people and I like them a lot, but I make a careful point to never talk politics.
My last girlfriend went out of her way to hide the fact that she was a Republican - probably justified, in her view, since when I found out I reacted exactly the way she'd anticipated. A Republican!?! I've been sleeping with a Republican for the last three months!!! Where's the bleach? We did last for about another three months after that, we just never talked about politics again.
Happens all the time. My husband and I differ greatly on some political issues, and I simply choose not to discuss those issues with him, since I know I'll never change his mind and vice versa. We have lots of other stuff to converse about.
Our daughter is far more liberal on some issues than either of us, though, and we still love her very much.
10-03-2007, 10:06 AM
There is only one friend I discuss politics with - and he and I are on the same page politically. I don't really discuss politics AT ALL with anyone else other than my husband.
10-03-2007, 10:35 AM
This is something I encounter with family and old friends, mostly.
I and my friends from when I was a teenager have diverged into different directions socially and politically, and some I've lost touch with because of it, but there are others I keep in touch with who have political and social views that don't mesh with mine. We stay friends because we've been there for each other and have that shared history, and it's a case of deciding whether we want to win an argument or keep this friendship that's lasted half our lives. Sometimes it's hard, especially when you see this person, who you otherwise consider a reasonable person, saying these things that just don't jive with your view of the world. (And of course, this extends beyond politics in some cases.)
The same with my parents and in-laws. Really, I'm very lucky that my husband and I appear to be exactly on the same wavelength, politically, with a few minor disagreements now and then. However, my parents are pretty conservative and his parents are old hippies. We're too liberal for one and too conservative for the other. At family gatherings, they discuss recipes and why they don't have grandkids yet.
I think you will find that people who live and breathe politics tend to have friends of the same political stripe as themselves, because they bore or offend or alienate anyone who disagrees with them. But the vast majority of Americans don't give a rat's ass about politics (the impression this Board leaves notwithstanding) and for them (for us) -- sure, you have friends of both politic parties or no political party. Assuming you know at all, which you may not.
My four best friends are S, T, C, and A. I've known them all for at least 20 years. I'm sure A is a Democrat because she's very liberal. I know for a fact T is a Republican. C I'm guessing skews left but I don't really know; S I honestly have no idea. And those are my very closest friends.
For a lot of us, politics just isn't an issue.
10-03-2007, 10:51 AM
Oh, forgot this one--Jodi's post reminded me--there's also the fact that it's considered impolite to discuss politics in most purely social situations unless you're with really close friends. I always wondered why that was, but as I'm getting more mature I realize that it really serves a useful function.
Even people who care passionately about certain issues often consider it rude to inflict that passion on others who may disagree/don't want to talk about it. It's like cornering someone at a party and telling them all about the baby JAYzuz.
Duke of Rat
10-03-2007, 10:55 AM
For a lot of us, politics just isn't an issue.
Bingo. As surprising as it may seem, all conversation in America doesn't revolve around politics and all friendships don't hinge on political affiliation. I think it's great to cultivate friendships with people of differing political bent, just as it is to have friends with different hobbies or anything else in life.
10-03-2007, 11:43 AM
Ah I was just curious because we had a Pacific Northwest devout Catholic Republican (PNDCR for short) in our house (in Ireland) recently and he was fervently spouting stuff about abortion/homosexuality/war of terror etc. That caused me to get into a huge argument with him even though I'm not a Dem (that wouldn't make any sense considering I'm from a different country) mainly because of his pontificating about personal issues in a doctrinaire way. Obviously this is just one man, but he was willing to spout this stuff with no encouragement from us, maybe at home he would not be so forthright but I couldn't imagine this guy having any centrist buddies let alone centre-lefties.
This isn't meant as a rant against Republicans (again why the fuck should I care really being in another country) rather that it was so strange to meet someone who wore their politics on their sleeve so much that it became hard to have a civil conversation with him. Equivalents surely exist here but this guy's opinions were in stark contrast to any of my friends' opinions on most topics. Thus endeth the rant.
(FWIW abortion is illegal in Ireland, homosexuality was legalised 14 years ago, and we're officially a neutral country although we do allow American military planes to refuel at our airports on their way to warzones)
10-03-2007, 11:52 AM
Having spent the past two years in Texas (the state that gave you George W. Bush), and the eight years before that in Utah (the state that voted most overwhelmingly for him), it would be nigh impossible for me to completely avoid Republicans. Hell, my current job is full of fundies, starting right from the top and working all the way down to the people who work for me. I don't have any problem with them, and we work together and do birthday parties and happy hours just fine, but my nearest and dearest are pretty much all Democrats.
10-03-2007, 11:55 AM
I have no republican friends, doubt that will change any time soon.
This isn't meant as a rant against Republicans (again why the fuck should I care really being in another country) rather that it was so strange to meet someone who wore their politics on their sleeve so much that it became hard to have a civil conversation with him.
This behavior is just as tiresome in the States, FWIW. Political pendants hang out with each other because no one else can stand to be around them.
10-03-2007, 02:15 PM
I have a few friends who I know for sure are very left-wing. My best friend describes herself as a socialist, for instance. The rest of my friends I would guess are more moderate, left-leaning Democrats, but I don't know for sure. I would be surprised to find that any of them are anywhere near as conservative as I am. I agree with Jodi, it's just not that much of an issue for me, when it comes to selecting friends.
10-03-2007, 02:20 PM
but my nearest and dearest are pretty much all Democrats.On second viewing, this isn't entirely correct. Many of my nearest and dearest are people who vote Democratic while holding their pierced noses (as they regard it as the lesser of two evils), but in fact their political leanings are to the left of both of the main US parties.
10-03-2007, 02:40 PM
I suspect my two best friends (they're married) of being Republicans, based on little snippets of conversation they have brought up over the years. However, I am quick to stop any sort of talk and I don't really want to know their political views for fear I might hate them.
10-03-2007, 02:46 PM
My friends and family are pretty much all over the place.
Some are very conservative--a lot of men I know are NRA guys, and there are a lot of Libertarian-leaning people. I go to an education group where everyone else is an Evangelical and most of them are very conservative. Some of my relatives want to move to the mountains of Colorado so the gun laws will be looser.
I also hang out with quite a few lefty/hippie types, from yellow-dog Democrats to my other education group of incense-burning hemp-wearing folks. Some of my relatives are close to being communists, except they hate government.
So, yeah, I have friends everywhere, but my own politics are pretty moderate; I dislike everyone in nearly equal amounts and am not a party-line voter.
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