There is no doubt that the presidential election of 2016 surprised and shocked the world, and in the weeks and months following Trump’s ascension to the presidency, the country seems to have fallen even further into a state of divisiveness and petty arguing. Perhaps most notably, this phenomenon has affected many families who are comprised of both Trump supporters and those who disagree wholeheartedly with his policies. Some families and friends have been able to put aside their differences during these trying times, but others are taking the dispute to entirely new levels.
That was certainly true for Gayle McCormick, who recently left her husband simply because the man voted for Trump. They had been married for 22 years, and she claimed the decision from her husband was like a wake-up call that she had been lying to herself about the relationship for years. Her husband’s vote for Trump was the straw that broke the camel’s back, despite the fact the two had lived for years with the knowledge that he was conservative Republican and she was a left-leaning Democrat. When Mr. McCormick announced casually at a lunch with some friends that he would be voting for Trump, she felt betrayed.
Mrs. McCormick compared the feeling to having the wool pulled from her eyes after a lifetime of denial. She was 73 years old when she decided to leave her husband over politics, so the decision must have been based on something that spoke to the core of the woman. She commented that she had gotten to a point where she accepted far more than her younger self would have allowed, and she felt the need to return to that level of personal responsibility.
Part of the contention between the Republicans and the Democrats stems from a commitment on both sides to their ideological beliefs, which are often diametrically opposed to one another. This creates a wider rift that some political scientists agree could make government comprises difficult to reach, and it could also raise the public’s distrust of the government in general, regardless of political party. Several polls show that the disconnect between political parties, especially through solidified social groups like families and friends, has continued to grow after the election, which hasn’t been the norm for recent elections. One poll showed that as many as 13 percent of those who took the survey had lost a relationship with a close friend or family member as a result of the election.
However, it should be noted that not everyone allows these political arguments to affect their relationships. One poll found that roughly 40 percent of respondents did not argue over the politics involved in the recent presidential race. Interestingly, the same poll showed that people were able to form new friendships and relationships as a result of the election, but the poll fails to address whether or not those relationships are bipartisan or politically one-sided.
Since Trump took office, there have been numerous actions taken by the White House that are worth discussing, but those discussions can easily lead to arguments amongst those from opposite sides of the aisle. For instance, the recent Muslim travel ban is a hot topic for discussion and disagreement, but for those arguments to affect personal relationships is a bit absurd. First, the majority of Americans are merely sitting on the political sidelines, and despite their belief they understand the subtleties of politics, they remain woefully uninformed. This is demonstrably true for members of both parties. Second, arguing angrily over any issue isn’t the way to reach an agreement or compromise. All it serves to do is damage the country as a whole. America can’t not afford to become completely partisan, because the world isn’t split into black and white. Why should the most powerful political system in the world be split in such a way?