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Angry in Ann Arbor

  • Posted on March 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Dear Christine,

I’ve had a roommate for the past 3 years.  My best friend for the last 20 years and I decided to share expenses as neither one of us has had any success in a relationship.  But that’s a question for another day!

Tuesday was Super Tuesday, but not so super at our house.  I’m for Hillary, she’s for Bernie.  She’s angry, I wasn’t, but now I’m starting to get really annoyed.  Seems to me by the way she’s talking and the other Bernie fans on Facebook that they actually hate Hillary.  OK, I could go on forever but let me get to the point.  How can I convince her that we need to elect a democrat.  I’ll vote for Bernie if he is the nominee but she and many others are saying they won’t vote at all if Hillary is the nominee.  We are both lesbians, both democrats.  The second question is how can we get past the anger going on between us.  It’s been an ugly election year and my relationship with my best friend is strained at best.  Thanks so much,

Angry in Ann Arbor

Dear Angry,
Welcome to election season!  You probably have heard that it’s best not to talk about certain topics:  religion or politics.  Now you know the reason.  Friends and spouses and family members do not always agree about these issues, and there’s a lot of emotional energy and meaning give to either side of the equation.

During election season, there’s a lot of campaigning, which means every candidate and their followers and surrogates are trying to make the case for your vote.  Sometimes they take the high road and give potential policies they back and sometimes it’s all mud slinging and smearing each other.  When the stakes are high, it usually gets ugly.

If you want to live in peace, it probably would be best to avoid politics and the election.  However, that’s hard, as you have known each other so long.  So, if you are going to talk politics and try to persuade one another, set up some boundaries.  When is it OK?  When do you need a break?  You can suggest articles or videos for each other to read/see, trying to inform each other of facts or beliefs you each think are most the most important.  If you can, try to listen to each other, not just shout over each other.  Perhaps she has an important piece for you to consider.  It may not change your mind, but being open with her will start a dialogue rather than a war of words.  If you listen to her, hopefully she will listen to you in return.  Trying to force your views on her or vice versa, usually kicks up a lot of resistance and stops communication.  I don’t find yelling matches helpful in making up my mind about politics.  Fox 2’s “Let It Rip” and some of the Sunday morning TV political talk shows are good examples.  No one wins and everyone gets high blood pressure!
So, the reality is, you can’t change her mind about anything.  And she can’t change yours.  The worst case scenario is that you each vote in the primary and your votes cancel each other out.  The most critical thing here is to vote!  This is your right and your responsibility as a US citizen.  I would love to see what happens if we got a 75 or 80% turnout!  I think our elected officials would look v ery different from most elections, where we have closer to a 25% turnout.

Tues, March 8, is the Democratic Primary, and there are two candidates, so you may feel “why bother?”  By abstaining, you are giving up your voice.  Which candidate turns out the most supporters to vote is who wins.  (Bernie won one election by 10 votes!)  If there’s a 3rd candidate, then there is the possibility of splitting the vote and no candidate gets a majority.  If In the general election, if that 3rd candidate gets enough votes, one of you may lose the candidate of your party.  These are high stakes fights.

If you can’t agree to disagree and still be friends, this election may cost you your friendship.  A lot of people lose FaceBook friends during elections as intense divisions crop up where before was only a pleasant connection.  Perhaps after the Michigan Primary on 3/8/16, you and your friend can give it a rest for a few weeks and then regroup as we learn who the nominees will be for the general election.  Then, maybe you will be able to discuss the pros and cons of the 2 (or 3, wait and see!) main candidates of different parties.  It’s painful.  That’s why we say it’s best not to discuss religion and politics.

The most important thing I can say is get informed and VOTE on Tuesday, March 8!
Christine Cantrell, PhD.