Tomorrow, is the UK general election. Ahead of the election, this week’s Stylist magazine featured an article about politics and friendships. An array of friends with opposing political views shared how it felt when their differences came head to head. It got me asking, should we avoid political chat and pipe down, or speak out, risking the division of our friendships?
Our values and principles are part of our make-up. They can be absolute, as if genetically inherited. Or fickle, like changing your socks. But, like anything that says something about our identity, we take values to heart. No matter how often (or little!) we actually, hand on heart, think about the environment, NHS, the deficit, and so on…when grilled on our core principles, we desperately want to have a fervent opinion. Because we know it matters. It speaks volumes about our character. But, are we too quick to judge others’ characters based on their politics, despite all we know of them as friends?
We need to step back and think, do these political opinions oppose our own so strongly that we want to walk away? Sometimes, in the heat of it all, within the tropical storm of election debate, we can lose all perspective on where we are and what we’re doing. Occasionally people are idiots, by all means cut them loose! Let them run free in their land of stupidity. But, this is rarely the case. We’re blessed to live in a, mostly, moderate and liberal democracy. There are more than just two opposing sides. This isn’t West Side Story. So why, when riled up by party politics, are we so quick to polarise and gang up?
While debate is great for challenging dated prejudices and ignorance, it can leave a sour taste. When division is rife and we’re goaded to segment, maybe everyone thirsts for the sweet taste of peaceful resolution.
Either way, it’s a secret ballot. Just make sure you vote.