Opinion

Politics Turn Relationships Sour

By MAYA PAGE

Staff Writer

Dr. Kerry Maguire, a dentist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and her husband Dr. Thomas Stossel, a professor at Harvard Medical School, faced difficulties in their marriage after learning they had much different political views during the 2016 elections.

“If you vote for Trump, I will divorce you and move to Canada. I’m serious,” Dr. Maguire told her husband, according to an interview with The New York Times.

During the couple’s 20 years of marriage, there were always disagreements over politics, but it wasn’t until last year that the disagreements became impossible to ignore. The 2016 election and Donald Trump’s first year of presidency have seeped its way into every aspect of relationships, friendships, private lives and popular culture.

Before the Trump era, people had opinions and agreed to disagree. Being friends or partners with someone of a different political party was not an issue; people simply didn’t discuss it.

Today, a person’s political affiliation is his or her identity. A person’s support or opposition of Trump creates an automatic assumption about his or her set of values and morals.

From social media to Hollywood, politics have dominated the conversation over the past year and half. Everything is politicized – movies, television, family gatherings, Sunday Night Football, etc. Politics has consumed and transformed everyday American life.

Award shows are no longer centered on who won, but who made the strongest political statement.

While being honored for her lifetime of notable work at the 2017 Golden Globes, Meryl Streep said, “There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good, there was nothing good about it…” and went on to criticize Trump’s imitation of a disabled reporter.

Trump responded on social media by tweeting, “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood,” and called everyone there “liberal movie people.”

This moment started the outburst of many other Hollywood stars using their platform to engage in political discussion.

The same has happened in sports. Football has been a symbol of American culture for decades, but over the past year the sport’s viewership has declined. The NFL protests, where over 200 players kneeled during the national anthem, caused huge controversy and had direct impact on ratings. Trump supporters were seen on social media burning their season tickets, which cost up to $10,000.

Business Insider reported “a 10% drop in ratings over the course of the 2017 season would go on to cut $200 million in earnings from the networks broadcasting NFL games this year.”

The question must be asked: is this progressive or harmful? When every aspect of life becomes politicized, how do you navigate which channels are safe to watch or which celebrities are you allowed to like? Can only Democrats go to the movies and only Republicans watch Fox News? The Trump presidency has divided our country more than any other election in history.

“If even the parts of American life that unite us are politicized—even baseball and brunch—how do we hold the country together,” said said Kevin Baker of Politico Magazine. “What do we share when our most innocent pastimes are reduced to partisanship?”

The future will tell whether this trend continues, or if it is a phenomenon solely of the Trump administration.

Categories: Opinion