People with opposing political views can get along, realizing shared common values will repair relationships

Alexandra Warner

Democrat Andrea Hailey and Republican David Williamson have been married for seven years, and many people have wondered if their political views have affected their relationship. They claim, however, that they have become more understanding of each other’s views that they have created a career partnership through their non-profit organization, the Civic Engagement Fund. The organization was founded to re-engage potential voters by promoting civic education after a disappointing 2016 election turnout when over 100 million American voters didn’t show up.

Similarly, political strategists and media personalities Mary Matalin and James Carville have been married for almost 30 years. Matalin, a former Republican who announced in 2016 that she was changing her party registration to Libertarian, and Carville, a life-long Democrat, found ways to keep their political and home lives separate through hobbies they like to do together and lessons they’ve learned through arguments and many conversations. 

Because of COVID-19, Black Lives Matter Movements and the election all happening at the same time, America is experiencing a great divide. It feels like the nation needs to learn from these two couples, and I’m sure there are many more couples like them. These two couples have been able to stick together through their differences because they’ve learned to communicate and accept their spouses’ opinions; maybe there is something to be learned from their relationships. They don’t label one another, but rather, they realize what shared values they both have and embrace them. Hailey and Williamson get along because they share the same values. They both love their democratic country; they love people having the opportunity to become leaders; and they believe in mutual respect, cooperation and dignity which is how their non-profit organization exists. 

Matalin and Carville love to cook, fish and go to church together. Sure, they’ve gotten into fights; but they have learned over time that there are certain topics that should stay untouched. Accepting other people’s points of views and respecting different ideas than our own are the first steps Americans should take in order for our country to be whole again.

Many people have noticed that the political polarization has increased over the past several years possibly because our nation is relatively young. People now have the ability to vocalize their political disagreements, especially with the advent of social media, people push boundaries that they haven’t pushed before. People have trouble listening to one another and accepting each others’ views. Most of the time, our views are linkd to our values, and our values are so personal that they often control the way we lead our lives. For most people, it’s difficult to imagine that others don’t see the world as they may see it. 

But people should notice, when talking and arguing about sensitive topics, that in the end, our values and expectations for this country are aiming for the same goal. The year 2020 has been a year of devastation and division in the United States. We need to focus on fixing damaged relationships. We need to learn to accept that it’s okay to have differing beliefs and help reunite our country. We need to learn that it is okay to disagree.