Is it okay to lose friends over politics?

Sofia Garcia, Editor-in-Chief

Major historical events not only profoundly impact our society, but they also have a habit of exposing the political beliefs of the people around us. Whether it is COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, the abortion ban or the election, it is no surprise when we find ourselves struggling not to judge our friends for having different views. Navigating such nuanced topics can be difficult when it concerns our friendships, so that raises the question: is it okay to lose friends over politics?

As a person who enjoys a good debate, I have come to understand that there is an undeniable correlation between our personal values and political affiliations. Are you a Democrat or a Republican? Do you side with pro-choice or pro-life? Are you in favor of gun control or no gun laws at all? Have you educated yourself enough to back up your beliefs? There is no denying the inevitable thought process we all have when we are questioned about politics, whether we understand both sides or not — it is usually about where we draw the line between right and wrong. Our moral compass, which comes to life during all of this questioning, directly intersects with our political affiliations. With that assumption in mind, I believe it is okay to end a friendship over certain political beliefs. 

When those “political” beliefs align perfectly with basic human rights, we should hold our friends accountable. Calling a person a friend means you care for them and their well-being. You care about their lives; you care about whether they are safe and happy. So, how much do your “friends” really care about you if they support “political” ideals or leaders that stand to criminalize and dehumanize you and your people? 

Simply not up for discussion is the question of who deserves civil rights and who does not. When Donald Trump was running for president, he made it abundantly clear who he felt deserved basic human rights. He made generalizations about minorities, dismissed entire groups of people and disrespected everyone who did not follow him — and he did it all with a scarily flippant attitude. 

According to The Atlantic, “Trump has assembled a long record of comments on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics more broadly, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities. His statements have been reflected in his behavior—from public acts (placing ads calling for the execution of five young Black and Latino men accused of rape, who were later shown to be innocent) to private preferences (“When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the Black people off the floor,” a former employee of Trump’s Castle, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, told a writer for The New Yorker). Trump emerged as a political force owing to his full-throated embrace of “birtherism,” the false charge that the nation’s first Black president, Barack Obama, was not born in the United States. His presidential campaign was fueled by nativist sentiment directed at nonwhite immigrants, and he proposed barring Muslims from entering the country.” 

“Friends” who support political leaders who spew bigotry and strip rights from people like yourself do not care about you. It isn’t just prejudiced political leaders either; it’s celebrities like Joe Rogan or Dave Chappelle who perpetrate violence through their speech and call it comedy. If you openly support powerful people who choose hatred, it means that you choose hatred too. It is okay to share your beliefs, but do not be surprised when friendships end because of differing opinions on that which is not up for debate: human rights.

Hold your friends accountable and surround yourself with people who will honor your existence. Question them about their ideals and values because these are the people who have the right to vote for politicians who either wish to uplift you or dismantle the very ground you walk on. Remember that it is okay to walk away from friends who side with the oppressor because the political arena is equivalent to battling over life and death.