The divisiveness in our country because of partisan politics is disappointing on many levels. People demean others they know and don’t know on social media and anywhere else they can leave comments. People physically attack others at protests and even drive cars into crowds. This really is unbelievable if you think about it. In many ways, our country is coming apart at the seams.

I know people’s positions on political issues are shaped by their core beliefs. No one is going to change another’s core beliefs through an online comment, an in person confrontation, or even a courteous conversation. What happened to hearing someone out in a respectful manner, agreeing to disagree, and moving on? What happened to respecting other’s opinions even when you don’t agree with them?

People cheer for political parties and issues as if they are sports teams. They aren’t. I don’t know anyone who has stopped speaking with a friend or family member who cheers for a different sports team. I am a lifelong Eagles fan. I can and have watched football games with friends or family members who are rooting for the Eagles’ opponent. Sure, it’s more fun when the Eagles win, but, win or lose, we move on and have enjoyed each other’s company.

Notice that nothing I am saying has anything to do with people identifying as supporters of a specific political party because it doesn’t matter who you support or what you believe. It’s about how people need to get back to speaking with and getting along with their friends and family who have different beliefs. So many people have let extremists from both sides drive their narrative. But most people are not far left or right. Sure, they lean one direction or the other, but most people are not as far apart as it may seem, nd likely agree on many issues.

Many people were raised to generally not speak about politics or religion. If you choose to speak with a friend or relative with different political views, it’s up to you whether you discuss politics or not. If you do, hopefully you both can do so in a respectful manner. Don’t you want to try to understand why someone you care about thinks differently than you? This isn’t so they can change your beliefs or you theirs, but to understand people have reasons they believe how they do. Knowing why may help you better understand them. It really isn’t different than you not being able to get anyone to change the sports teams they root for by asking how they became a fan of a given team.

Relationships are everything. They enrich the quality of your life. If someone is truly toxic, that is different, and a reason to not maintain a relationship. Otherwise, remember why you like the person and their good qualities. Yes, politics dominate the news cycle, but there always are many other things to talk about.