Political beliefs are a fundamental part of character, should be judged
Many of us have most likely grown up with parents or teachers instructing us to not judge others simply because their beliefs are different from our own. While this surely has its merits, it is intended to be applicable in a very general sense, with glaring exceptions.
I certainly would never judge someone harshly for their taste in food or music — well, perhaps only jokingly — but I do believe that politics is a key belief that lies outside the realm of that piece of advice. It should be perfectly acceptable to be judged for one’s political views.
I do not mean this as a hard-and-fast rule, however, as everyone should be left to his or her own devices to decide to what degree, personally, politics play a role in his or her evaluation of someone. What I do argue, instead, is that people should not be deemed closed-minded or otherwise for choosing to let politics color their opinions on someone else.
Relationships in life are often based on things shared and other commonalities, as many of them seemingly arise out of shared circumstances. Therefore, I hold the belief that it is definitely easier to befriend someone who holds the same set of political views.
Of course, I definitely am not saying that, for example, Republicans have trouble befriending or cannot befriend those who are Democrats or vice versa, as those friendships often occur. Furthermore, the variation within those two ideologies is as varied as the political spectrum itself, so one may find themselves sharing many opinions despite identifying as a part of completely different parties.
My message is that, should someone choose to not enter into a relationship with someone, romantic or platonic, they should be allowed to cite politics as a reason why. People should be held accountable for their beliefs, even if that accountability amounts to judgment. For example, while I am perfectly happy to and do have friends who are more conservative than I am, I cannot see myself dating someone who has views that deviate far from mine.
Some people would personally not associate themselves with those who are rude or those who partake in activities against their own morals, such as doing drugs, so why should politics be any different? By choosing to espouse and stand behind a certain set of stances, you indicate to others exactly what is and isn’t important to you as a person. Abortion rights or no abortion rights, affirmative action or no affirmative action, gun control or no gun control — what you think affects how you behave and how you vote, which in turn affects those around you.
Being offended has turned into an ugly term in recent years, as more people nowadays are being mocked for being “overly sensitive” or “easily triggered.” But, if what another says or believes affronts, invalidates, or belittles your own views, you have a right to be offended, to judge another for thinking that way, or to choose not to associate with them.
There can certainly be harmful political beliefs, such as being against gay marriage or being for neo-Nazism, to name some of the ones that are more unilaterally believed as problematic. As for the most controversial ones, it will be up to each person individually to decide what it is and where his or her boundaries lie.
In a tumultuous time and country like the contemporary United States, we find it harder and harder to separate politics and our everyday lives. Even in the most recent presidential election, I am sure that many people have or have seen their friends be shocked when someone they know come out in support of a candidate that they themselves despise.
I’m here to say that it’s a reasonable, logical reaction and that their judgment is perfectly warranted.