“I would totally date a Republican.” These are words I have never uttered, and probably never will. I know what you’re thinking: Shame on me for not being more open minded when it comes to politics.
Well you know what I say to that? When it comes to the subjects of love and relationships, there are a few things on which I will not compromise.
I write about politics and love a great deal because these topics interest me. They are by no means mutually inclusive. In fact, I know a lot of people that are totally apolitical, and their partner’s political views have virtually no effect on their feelings. I wish I could say the same for myself. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), my politics are inherently wrapped up into my identity and how I view the world around me. My politics define my career, what I read, what I think, where I spend my time, and ultimately, with whom I spend it. So it’s safe to say it’s rather difficult for me to separate political views with who I fall in love with.
So how common is it for Republicans and Democrats to do a little more than reach across the aisle?
According to Jezebel columnist Erin Gloria Ryan, it comes down to republicans and democrats intrinsically wanting different things. Based on statistics from online dating, in which users revealed their political leanings, “Republicans care about money and Democrats care more about sex.” This speaks further to my earlier point that politics can be less of an abstract category sequestered on Capitol Hill and more of one’s own social and economic policy and lifestyle. Also, it appears that Democrats are, ahem, less materialistic.
Despite the obvious and somewhat natural human practices of remaining in nurturing relationships and environments in which one feels supported by like-minded people, surely there are those stories of people breaking outside the mold, and in this case, dating outside their political party.
Surely there are … at least one or two … What’s that? Of course!
Ladies and gentleman, James Carville and his wife Mary Matalin are the golden bipartisan couple whom, against all odds, have proven me wrong. Not only is one a bucking donkey and the other an uptight elephant, but these two have managed to have careers in politics on both sides of the spectrum, debate one another on national television, and go home to one another at the end of the day. And they’ve managed to do this for nearly twenty years.
And how could I have forgotten? Former Governor Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are happily….what’s that? Oh. Right, I forgot. They recently divorced. But hey! That’s not fair, their divorce was clearly over an issue of infidelity and lying about an illegitimate child. Before that, I’m sure she loved his guns and his unpaid furlough Friday policy for all state workers. She’s a Kennedy after all.
Fine. That was a bad example.
What about Ann Coulter? She hates everything and nearly everyone.
All hell froze over when the queen of sensationalized conservative commentary started dating former liberal NYC councilman, Andrew Stein. What the heck was that relationship all about? Love, right? Once they parted ways, hell melted and now I hold Ann Coulter personally responsible for global warming.
Well then. Some happy stories, some not so happy. Have we gotten to the point in our country where everything has become too polarized, to the point of no return? Have we settled too firmly in our own camps, perpetuating the general intolerance for the other point of view lending to us perhaps overlooking love in a surprising location?
Or is this a natural sociopolitical phenomenon that lends itself to settling down with those who think similarly?
At least at the end of the day, when we’re all feeling discouraged with our current political climate, wondering if we’d ever be able to find common humanity with those across the aisle, we can feel uplifted with the notion that as Americans, for the most part, we have the choice regarding with whom we’d spend our time.
And if you decide that John Boehner’s tears really warm your cold, cold heart, then God bless you and God bless America.