Living in a Politically Diverse Household

ALISA CAIRA (GRADE 11)

If you live in Newton, by this point you have probably heard of “the Newton Bubble.” If you don’t live here, I’m sure your neighborhood, town, or region has something similar. This “bubble,” as we call it here, is an all-encompassing shield to the political, social, and economic diversity that surrounds us. In essence, the concept becomes solely associated with like-minded people and accordingly, mistakenly gives the idea that many more people share your opinion than actually do.

For this reason, many were and continued to be shocked by Trump’s presidency. Yet, although I agree with this sense of shock, I don’t find it as difficult to understand how such things have happened. I’m sure we all can relate to having that one family member with different political views that simply won’t ‘shut up’ with their opinions. It can seem like all the problems will be solved the second they leave the house or the topic changes to the weather or something else less tense. However, for me, this tension always exists in my household. I consider myself to be a liberal yet the majority of my family is Republican.

In my household, there have been many fierce debates through Trump’s campaign that extend today into his recent legislation and executive orders. It can be hard at times to deal with constant reminders that not everyone shares the same views as me. Often, there are times where I deeply believe my family to be immoral or simply wrong. However, I have learned to become grateful for our differences in opinion.

I believe in my own politics strongly, but directly getting to know the viewpoints of others has only helped me develop these opinions. I have had to fight and stand up for my beliefs. In doing so, my sense of what my true democratic beliefs are have only grown. There is no strength to be gained in simply shutting down the viewpoints of others and remaining to exist solely in the bubble that encompasses your own.

Next time you encounter someone who disagrees with your own political opinion, I urge you to truly listen to them. I am not saying you must convert to their opinion, nor that you have to accept everything they say without argument. However, there can be an educational pull that refusing to listen to these opinion does not offer.

There have been times where I have had my family drive me to pro-refugee protests while I know some of them to be supporters of the recent immigration ban. I don’t believe that I’ll ever stop trying to convince my family of what I believe, but I can accept that they believe differently. In this acceptance, I believe that protest can be achieved most empathetically and that in demanding the rights I believe in, I can much more comprehensively understand where objection stems from.

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