Trump Protester

A counter protester of President Trump stands on the River Styx bridge in Hopatcong, New Jersey on Saturday, August 15.

This year has been a year of firsts, fights and fears for our country as we sit amid a global pandemic and encounter social justice movements across all states. If the year couldn’t get more chaotic, add a presidential election into the mix. Debates have turned virtual and households have picked sides; red, blue or somewhere in the middle.

Our country’s youth has advocated for their voices to be heard through the power of voting and utilizes social media to spread the word. No matter the age, with voices comes opinions as everyone is entitled to their own. An election year is a tough time for anyone as they prepare for the potential change in power, but it is important to remember sometimes politics and people don’t mix.

A close friend of mine was told by a mutual friend they would not continue to be friends with them if they chose to vote to re-elect President Donald Trump. They were distraught to hear news of someone willing to throw away years of friendship over conflicting political views, and ultimately declined to vote in this year’s election. An unpopular opinion from that friend cost them their right to vote due to their fear of losing a friend over something so uncertain at the moment.

The world thrives on people who make their own decisions and stick to their beliefs, and no one should feel as if they can’t voice their opinion because their views are deemed wrong by others. I have found myself biting my tongue and called names by peers who label me to one party or the other, when I belong to neither. Split second judgements by others have further pushed the divide between our country on social issues, economics and governance.

An election year heightens the already tense state of our country and people use politics as a wedge to drive themselves further and further away from one another. Outspoken individuals turn to social media to throw knives into the hearts of their political enemies while hiding behind a screen that makes them bulletproof. Some individuals are used as pawns to lure undecided voters to one side or the other as if it is a life or death decision on whether they choose to vote and who they choose to vote for. Words hurt no matter the context and during an election year everyone is hypersensitive.

Take the time to be nice to those who have differing opinions from your own and never take the chance to ruin friendships and relationships over political views. At the end of it all this is just another election where we vote based off of who we believe is best fit to serve our personal needs and the country as a whole. It is never a time to gang up on someone who doesn’t see eye to eye on political views and hope you can convince or kick them out of your life.

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