By: Alex Reiner ’18 and Alexa Moro ’18
*Names changed in order for students to remain anonymous
Many families argue about what they want for dinner or which sibling gets the last slice of pizza, but some Staples’ students face more extensive arguments. These Staples students live in a politically divided household, meaning that not all of their family members lay on the same side of the political spectrum.
Some of these Staples’ students experience the hardships that come with political division. *Matt is one of these students and his family constantly faces struggles while having political conversations. “We tend to argue with each other throughout the conversations,” Matt said. “At the end of the conversation, we forget what aspect of politics we were talking about and are just angry at eachother.”
*David also feels this way and it was exposed during the election season. He believes that this recent election caused his family to become more divided. “[The election] really highlighted our division and created more yelling than arguments,” he said.
Families like Matt and David’s struggle with being able to have civil political conversations without them turning tumultuous. However, other Staples’ students who live in politically divided families do not allow for their political orientation to interfere too deeply with the civilization of their family’s conversations.
In these households, the parents help guide the conversations and open their children’s viewpoints to a larger variety of sources, rather than force them to have a certain viewpoint. “[My parents] act as a catalyst for discussions that my family agreed on,” *John said. His parents encourage him to explore the entire political spectrum and their family to halt the conversation when it becomes too intense.
Parents of these families not only help guide the conversation, but they also help to make sure that their children obtain the entire spectrum of opinions.
*Susan’s parents, who are on the other side of the political spectrum as her, encourage her to explore the entire political spectrum. “They have always allowed me to figure out my own beliefs,” she said. “However, they tell me to explore the other side, so I remain more open minded and we can have better conversations.”
Susan feels as though the division in their family’s political views has allowed them to have “longer and deeper conversations.” However, in wake of the election, many families around America do not feel that way. According to the New York Times, some families have moved their wedding across the globe, so that Donald Trump supporters would not be able to make the trip. Some families even had to call off Thanksgiving because some Hillary Clinton supporters do not “want [Trump supporters] to be around [them].”
Despite the division, David still has great respect for his family members’ opposing view and hopes they respect his too. He said, “I still have a lot of respect [for my family] because they are very knowledgeable, and well, my family.”