Can you accept your loved one’s political choices?

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I recognize that if I indeed have 150 close personal connections (if that’s the limit), my guess is about 60-80 of them disagree with me on more than half the stuff I care about. When I realized that if I work really, really, really hard I might be able to change the opinions of 2 or 3 of them on one issue over the course of several years, I decided I wasn’t going to shift the needle at all and decided that I’d rather have those people in my life to support me, and I them personally, than risk a fight over something politically.


One of my best friends (and his wife) both have almost opposite views on politics and social issues as i do. But our approach on touchy subjects has been to at least hear each other out and find common ground that we can agree on, even if it’s a small thing. It’s worked pretty well, and i do actually respect his thoughts and opinions.
It’s definitely not easy having someone close to you believe in things you’re against, but there has to be respect and awareness from both parties, otherwise it devolves into both sides fighting over ideals, or one person going off on a topic and the other one staying silent.


Not really, because we choose our own communities. I’d accept that number for my own experiences if it were one or two things I really cared about, but not everything. 50% of my close personal connections are not diametrically opposed to everything I believe in. That number is probably closer to 5-10%, and they’re connections that are more out of necessity than friendship.

Probably 60-80% of my close personal connections are in disagreement with me on one or two things I really care about, but I can usually sweep those differences under the rug. The type of person who supports* Trump, on the other hand, would not get on well with me. If I have any of these in my social network, they are coworkers, relatives, etc. This type of person not only has a worldview diametrically opposed to mine, but is as vocal about their objections to me as I am about my objections to them.

  • by support I mean support enthusiastically, as opposed to someone who will vote for him because he’s Not Hillary or because he’s the Republican candidate.
1. Focus on the Qualities You Admire and Appreciate in Them
What if the rest of our family is as awful as we are?

If I had married a Trump supporter, I’d need to check myself into an asylum.

As for blood relations, I got lucky, only one Trump supporter in the lot. I just don’t discuss politics with that individual.


Respect is very important in a relationship. I could never respect a Trump voter or a prohibitionist. That would spell the end of our relationship.


Normally I would agree, but in this case I find supporting Trump is irredeemable.


That’s the only way. I love my siblings & siblings-in-laws, but all are on the other side of the fence. One is a somewhat racist basket-case who on occasion refers to her “democrat friends,” as if she’s saying “my friends who I like even though they have a horrible contagious skin disease.” When we get together I have learned to repeat “no politics!” (usually a few times before it gets through). Thankfully I’m not married to any of 'em. I’d go crazy.


are we not communicating to them that they are not good or wise or smart enough? That their values are suspect?

What, if they’re pro-Trump? I mean… yes?

This is kina the same line that bugs me with articles saying “we must try to understand where Trump voters are coming from”. Like, that’s fine, but sometimes understanding something means understanding that, yep, it really is fouler than the unwiped inner ring of Satan’s rectum.


Several years ago I learned, with a great deal of help, that being related by blood doesn’t matter. Or, to put it more clearly, you can pick your friends and you can pick your family, because if someone’s not your friend they don’t deserve to be considered family.

I have family with whom I just don’t discuss politics, and some with whom I can debate tough issues. Then there’s that one person who’s genetically related to me who refuses to avoid bringing up political differences and feels that expressing opinions should include verbal and even physical abuse.

In spite of the shared DNA that person is not part of my family.


That’s why they repealed prohibition and kept the Second Amendment!


Same here…and any other topic too, as the necessity becomes obvious.

I’ve learned a million ways to change the subject on a dime, or fabricate an excuse to leave the immediate area at that exact moment.


Are you accepting of them without getting angry?

Yes. Keeping the loved one from getting angry, though, generally means being silent and letting any discordant viewpoints remain unchallenged.

Do you try to persuade them to change their views? (and how does that work?)

No, I’ve only tried to share my own views. (It works out rather poorly.)

Are you able to have cordial discussions with them?

No. Any criticism of a favored person or viewpoint (Obama, republicanism, whatever) generates discord.

What do you do when your loved ones try to change your views?

Try to personify what I would like to see in others; a willingness to listen carefully, ask intelligent questions, and accept that I very well might be wrong and the other person might be totally right.

In the meantime, remember to… Let It Go!



This arguably depends on why your ‘loved ones’ count as such.

If that’s just a euphism for ‘family you don’t have a proper reason to cut ties with’, then yes, tips for maintaining polite interaction across political divides are pretty useful. Same would go for colleagues you have to make small talk with and any other people who you have no real choice over and mostly need to work with as amicably as possible.

Once you get into people you choose, though, the question becomes which ‘political choices’ are of the “agree to disagree; focus on being whatever-it-is-you-are-buddies-about-buddies” flavor; and which ones are of the “We make different political choices because we have fairly fundamental ideological and/or ethical frameworks; and that might be a problem” flavor.

It’s lazy and inaccurate to just assume that people don’t agree with you because they are idiots, morally unsound, or both; but ‘political decisions’ aren’t just cosmetic fashion choices; they are expressions of a person’s positions on such minor matters as “To what ends should state violence be allocated?” and “What rights do people have; and who counts as ‘people’?”; which are subjects where some flavors of disagreement are…rather alarming.


Just make it clear that your love is conditional. If they value spending time with you over riding their hobby horses, they’ll learn self-control. If not, your time is too valuable to waste humoring them.

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My political views (other than “Not Trump”) aren’t very strong. But the only family member you really get to choose is your spouse – everyone else you’re related to isn’t your choice really (although you can choose how close you are to them). My spouse is pro-Clinton. I’m pro-Clinton but not in the way she is - I wish someone else was running whereas she does not. If she were pro-Trump I’d be asking a lot of question of her. Like why why why why why.


On the plus side, if your significant other is going to vote for the other side, the 2 of you can just stay home.


That’s what you tell them, anyway.


Unfortunately, one of the subjects that cannot be productively discussed with my children’s other parent is conditional love.