Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
Washingtonian recently published a piece describing how conservative millennials are having a tough time dating in progressive Washington, D.C. A reporter for a conservative media company told Washingtonian, “The political divide has gotten so wide that a lot of younger liberals don’t have any interest in meeting conservatives.”
Considering how so many of the political issues currently dividing the two ideologies are based on identities and deeply rooted moral stances, these complaints are ridiculous.
There was a period in American history when political divisions were mostly based on economic grounds. Differences in opinion still exist about whether economic growth is best stimulated by low taxes or by government intervention and support, but while these differences can be significant, they do little to reveal the values people hold.
Thus, it would be unfair for people to write off potential dates simply because of a difference in economic opinions.
However, politics today frequently revolve around issues like abortion, LGBT rights and environmental regulations. Stances on these issues reveal a lot more about a person’s values: Are they traditionalist or open-minded; do they believe in evidence-based science or not?
With the campaign and election of President Trump, party identification now does even more to highlight one’s values. Of course it would be unfair to label every Trump voter as racist. But it’s not a stretch to say that most Trump voters recognized they were voting for an openly racist man, and were able to justify that choice even if they did not support his comments.
Thus, there may be an important distinction to make between traditional conservatives who either didn’t vote for Trump or did so begrudgingly, and those who backed his bid.
One woman who works at a progressive nonprofit and was cited in the Washingtonian article said it perfectly: “If you’re dating someone and they say[,] ‘I think we should have lower marginal tax rates,’ that’s different than dating someone who doesn’t think a woman should have a right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.”
Political stances reveal significant aspects of who we are. If progressive liberals use that as a heuristic to refuse certain dates, that’s their prerogative. Maybe conservative millennials should listen to conservative commentators and stop being snowflakes who are so easily hurt by rejection from their liberal peers.
While I believe that communication across party lines is the only way to build a common understanding and craft compromise, I don’t think that means we must date people who hold vastly different views from our own.
A Diamondback opinion columnist wrote a piece yesterday suggesting that political labels should not be used as shortcuts for one’s ideological essence.
While that assertion may be theoretically correct, political labels may be some of the only information available that reveals a potential date’s moral values. With modern political stances revealing so much about who we are, it’s more than fair to act on those labels and refuse to date people with opposing political ideologies.
Mitchell Rock is a senior government and politics and physiology and neurobiology major. He can be reached at email@example.com.