Written by: Katherine Zu
After the votes are cast and tallied on election night, there will undoubtedly be at least one upset person under my roof. Come election season, both the presidential debates and the political debates at home are in full swing. My father’s Republican views and me and my sister’s conflicting Democratic views brew up a continuously hostile political atmosphere at home.
My sister and I disagree with my father on everything from policies dealing with outsourcing jobs to gay rights to income taxes. To make matters worse, our continuous arguments rarely end in a compromise.
As a firm believer in hard-core evidence and low taxes, my father supported the death penalty while I strongly opposed the policy because of moral reasons. After laying out the evidence that abolishing it would save the state money and benefit society, he agreed to vote to abolish the death penalty. Similarly, he only agrees to change his stance if there is proof that an alternative is better for the community, and outside of capital punishment, there has been no leeway. Political debates at home often end with no changes in opinion and both sides shaking their heads in disbelief over the ignorance of the other.
Although children tend to have political opinions that are aligned with their parents, growing up in a liberal school environment has shaped my political outlook to be very different from that of my own parents. I am sure I would have turned out Republican and much more conservative if I lived in the Midwest or the South. As a child, we never touched on politics at home. I was never even clear on who my parents voted for. The political quietness at home remained as I grew older and began to form my own political opinion.
By the time I was in high school and politics were brought up, I was surprised at how different my parents’ political sentiments differed from mine. My father was equally shocked at how he was oblivious to how his two daughters managed to form political opinions differing from his own.
Even though there is plenty of arguing over the differences between Republican and Democratic policies, it doesn’t divide our family. Also, it would be a lie to say that the political squabbles aren’t somewhat entertaining. Ultimately, political differences have little effect on day-to-day conversations, and they only come up when major events like presidential debates or the inauguration occurs.
When politics aren’t on the table, my family is able to set aside those differences. After all, it’s only once every four years when political arguments flame up.
Debating with my father on various issues opens my eyes to the other side of the issue, and helps me understand why a Republican might support the opposing stance. I never fully understood the Republican’s position on immigration until my father explained what he thought to be the detrimental effects of illegal immigration.
I try to see both sides, rather than immediately taking a Democratic stance, and I do support some Republican policies. Although having family members with different political views creates plenty of tension, the experience makes those election nights all the more special.