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Separating politics and personal

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Separating politics and personal

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Mercer Thomas, staff writer

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The death of George H. W. Bush on November 30th sparked a series of articles about the person he was both in and out of politics. Regardless of their political views, many people who’ve come forward to talk about him are emphasizing one thing: their respect for him. Those who disagreed with his politics were still able to respect him as a person. People who criticized him criticized his political beliefs, but not his personal life. This is no longer true of politics today. Politics have become completely toxic; people can no longer separate their personal lives from their political views. As sophomore Dori Burdick explained, “People stop spending time with each other because ‘oh they are a Democrat, oh they are a Republican, they are not my friends anymore,’ I think that’s pretty messed up.” This political climate serves no purpose for our country; t can only worsen our condition, not improve it.

Politics wasn’t always a mainstream topic of discussion. People voted, had issues they cared about, kept tabs on politics, and focused on their own community and lives. Now, it seems as impossible to have a conversation without it coming up in one way or another. We tend to focus on politics because we live in the suburbs of D.C., close to the Capital. Freshman Sydney Hahn added that “a lot of people have jobs that have to do with the government,” but even in the Capital, the majority of people in the past have never put this much focus on politics. They were too busy with their own personal lives, but now it’s become more volatile, inflammatory, and a source of everyday small talk.

Using politics as everyday chatter is toxic; it serves only to further divide people and cause hatred in a time when the country desperately needs to unite. Hahn explained that “in the past, people used to make friends more for who they were and not what they thought about politics.” The obsession of talking about the government and its policies is not dependent on which party you support. Many are guilty of talking politics and letting it ruin their relationships. The emphasis placed on it needs to stop. Sure, people can talk about it, it but obsession is never healthy.

Another factor that’s changed people’s political views is social media like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, which tailor an individual’s feeds based on their past preferences. These feeds warp the individual’s reality by showing them only want they want to see. This means that voting individuals are not seeing the state of the actual country and are not voting based on fact, but on what they are told they want to see. Making people’s opinions seem so much like fact, like black and white, also pushes those that disagree away.

The combination of making politics a common conversation and having personalized social media proves to be a way to pull people apart. Family members stop talking, friends drift away – all because they believe that there is no grey area. Ten, twenty, and thirty years ago, people didn’t let their opinions on government dictate their relationships, and they shouldn’t today.

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About the Writer
Mercer Thomas, Layout Editor

Mercer is a Freshman at South Lakes High School. She does horseback riding and is on the South Lakes Robotics team. This is her first year being on the...

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