Love Has Always Been a Political Battlefield, and in 2020, Survival is Paramount
Historically, Americans have become aligned to either support the Democratic or Republican party, with only a small portion of voters choosing to support smaller parties. However, it’s common knowledge that politics extends beyond red or blue, going on to define inequities, inequalities, sexism, racism, classism, inaccessibility, disability, and so much more — including how one looks at dating and relationships.
According to the Pew Research Center, “Democrats who identify as some race or ethnicity other than white are more likely than their white counterparts to say they would not consider getting into a relationship with a Trump voter.”
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This data might be clear and to the point for some, while for others, it could come off as overly critical. If someone is polite, well educated, and has a stable career, who cares if their political stance opposes your own, right?
In the Case of Politics, Opposites Do Not Attract
As a Black woman, I consider dating a Trump supporter to be the equivalent of going out with someone who supports the Klu Klux Klan. For a queer Black person like myself, what they stand for is completely unacceptable.
In my experience, Trump support equals anti-blackness, sexism, and bigotry, and that will always be a no-go. And while some people may believe that opposing political beliefs doesn’t have to mean incompatibility, the studies are not on their side.
According to the Institute for Family Studies, “Most people are married to or living with a partner of similar political leanings. Indeed, a recent Pew Survey put the estimate of married and cohabiting couples with politically similar partners at 77 percent.”
Their data also concluded that Democrats are most likely to prefer someone that votes in a similar way.
It’s not so much that as a Democrat, I must automatically be with someone that’s also a Democrat. It goes much deeper than that.
Recently, Amy Coney Barrett, outspoken about her opposition to Roe V. Wade and other policies concerning gendered and racial equality, was confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. Not only was this a brazen disgrace to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy, it also expresses the undeniable link between people, politics, and relationships.
That’s not to say there aren’t some Democrats that support Barrett, but oppose Trump. As for those individuals? They are just as dangerous as Trump supporters because the principles that they are siding with are still discriminatory ones.
Making a Political Strategy for Dating in 2020
I mostly use Bumble as my main dating app of choice because there’s a unique advantage for those that identify as womxn, as we get to message first.
Bumble also allows people to list their political leaning: conservative, moderate, liberal, or apolitical, and if they are a registered voter. Personally, I veto all conservative, apolitical, and non-voting people as soon as I see them. In my experience, it saves time and allows me to dodge the occasional heated political debate that can often take place on these apps.
It helps to just be transparent about what I don’t want in order to help me achieve what I do want.
However, there has been the occasional person, both online and in real life, that manages to slip through the cracks of my attempted formula. I’ve met the self proclaimed “good guys” that want to be the middle men of political ideology. They don’t like their politics too blue or too red, but they like to pretend to be an ally to all.
They’ll bond with you over entertainment, a love for the outdoors, and even volunteer work, but as soon as politics are up for discussion, one of two things usually happens.
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The first? They suddenly go mute, eager to change the subject. This was my experience with a former boyfriend of mine. I was hanging out with him and two of his white cis hetero male friends, and one of his buddies explained that “poor white people and poor Black people suffer from the same issues at the same rates under the American Government system.”
While I tried to explain to his friend that his thinking was convoluted, my ex stood there frozen. He didn’t want to make anyone unhappy or cause problems despite knowing his friend’s point of view was askew. That left me in a heated argument while trying to dodge the unnecessary label of “angry Black woman” in the group.
The second response is like a dance. Your romantic interest tries to side step and sashay around making a definitive stance on anything, using outdated terms like “colored people” that only confirms they don’t know very much about politics or social issues at all.
They’ll nervously regurgitate ideas that they’ve heard before, only to apologize profusely when you question or correct them. These guys seem innocent and maybe even endearing, but they’re not. In my experience, they’re manipulators that enjoy pretending to be ignorant. They do this as a gaslighting technique to keep you second guessing your validity and knowledge.
Even if your encounters only resemble these in some way, the truth is, if you’re constantly pressured to validate your experiences and political beliefs in a relationship, an unhealthy power struggle is taking place.
Even if I Love Someone, If Our Politics Don’t Sync, It Won’t Work
I loved my ex-boyfriend very much. We went on great dates, sharing similar interests, and even several mutual values.
We both cherished family and believed in education, even supporting my strides to de-stigmatize and embrace my natural textured hair. When it came to his political views on gender, sex, and race, however, I knew there could never be a real future for us.
He used the “N-word” behind my back because it was fine when out with “his Black friends,” even using sexist language by referencing females as “thots” because it was humorous. He also claimed to care about fighting against sexist and racist policies, but remained an apolitical non-voter.
As human rights activist Desmond Tutu once said, ““If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
As an activist and Black woman that felt, and still feels, so passionate about making systemic change through policy, grassroots activism, and more, loving someone that could never love me back properly didn’t make sense.
It was both a relationship and a battlefield that I knew would end in disaster before anyone had waived their flag in forfeit. Love is a political battlefield, and sticking to your principles might break your heart, but you will ultimately win the war.
When I’m dating, I take a good look in the mirror and decide who it is that I am. I see my deceased great-grandmother, Ms. Alberta Brown, who worked tirelessly as a maid in the 1920s to clean homes for white people because there weren’t equitable laws to allow a Black woman to have access to better jobs and pay, or even an education.
I see my grandmother, Shirley Anderson, marching with the Black Nurses Association in the 1960s after the predominantly white Nurse’s Association excluded BIPOC nurses from joining them. I see Breonna Taylor, inspiring in her resolve to become an EMT, but without the chance to ever see that day because of corrupt systems that still exist in 2020.
Remember this: Who you are is far more than war-torn collateral, and self-love should always be the grand prize you strive for.
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