Friends and politics often a toxic mix

Helen Le, Sports Editor

The upcoming presidential election has intensified political opinions across the country. Bad blood may replace mad love when dealing with family members and friends with conflicting political beliefs, though.
Of course, political debates have always been relevant, but students may not even realize the change in political atmosphere that has resulted from this 2016 season, or if they do, they may not care.
Students may even be afraid of speaking their opinion, fearful of the futility of such an action. They recognize that others sometimes just do not listen.
“When I disagree with people politically, I’m up for a good debate,” junior Julian Bernardo said, “but I try not to be too polarizing.”
When dealing with family, though, many teenagers find that they share their beliefs. Junior Vanessa Moraes says that she shares her conservative views with her mother when they discuss politics.
“We still try to conserve our original values of what America should be and always will be,” Moraes said.
Research by a Gallup Youth Survey posted by Linda Lyons shows that the majority of both conservatives and liberals are raised by a family that have the same political alignment, with slightly more conservatives following their parents. Liberals, on the other hand, often pronounce themselves as more liberal than their family.
“I think a lot of our political ideology is based on how we grew up,” junior Marso Beltran said. He also shares his conservative views with his family, though he professes himself to be more liberal in certain aspects, such as drug legalization, and conservative in others, such as gun control. Although Beltran is conservative, he is like many others who have their own individual opinion, which also range in severity, on certain topics.
Teenagers are more likely to share their family’s beliefs when their parents are politically active, as there is more influence. Other factors that affect one’s political views are gender, religion, race, education, income, age, and region.
In California specifically, females and males are equally likely to vote for Republicans, shown by the California Voter and Party Profiles of the Public Policy Institute of California. Females are more likely to vote for Democrats, however, especially since women view the Democratic Party as more effective in fighting for women’s rights.
Rather than determining political ideology, though, these factors may help people align themselves to political parties. For example, a person who makes more money is more likely to be conservative because Republican economic policies are more situated to their lifestyle. People with an income of $80,000 or more are 48 percent likely to vote for the Republican Party in California, compared to 34 percent of likely Democratic voters.
“I think growing up in a diverse place, you want equality for different types of people,” Bernardo said. He attributes his liberal view, one that he believes is common among his peers, to the liberal environment of California, where about 43 percent of voters are likely to vote for the Democratic Party as compared to 32 percent for the Republican Party.
Bipartisan relationships are not unheard of in the social world, but political conversations become tense when differences in beliefs arise. A politically active couple, Dr. Kerry Maguire and Dr. Thomas Stossel, showcased in an article written by Sridhar Pappu of “The New York Times,” have always had differing political opinions.
However, with the upcoming elections, Dr. Maguire was shocked to learn that her husband is considering voting for Trump. They do reach a compromise after Trump’s attack on a Gold Star family, as Dr. Stossel states that he would vote for the Libertarian candidate instead.
Friendships fall under the tension of political disagreements as well. When students realize that a friend has different political beliefs than they do, they may very well keep their own opinions silent to avoid losing a friend.
“I don’t really like to upfront state things, ‘cause I know certain people can get really hot-headed over people that oppose their beliefs,” Bernardo said.
Then there are those who only talk to some about their political opinions, whether they be the same or not. “I discuss my political views only to people who listen,” Beltran said, recognizing the disproportionate number of non-listeners.
But political opinions don’t have to ruin relationships. They can add to them and even strengthen bonds.
“You have the best relationships when you are clearly separate people,” Dr. Maguire said in the “Times” story. “I like to think that we are emotionally centered, so that we can have a major disagreement about something and it’s not a big problem.”
When people are open to others’ beliefs, they foster diversity and acceptance while welcoming challenges to their own. “I try to bring my views and listen to their views and see if we can come to a compromise,” Beltran said.