No, I didn’t unfriend you over politics

No, I didnt unfriend you over politics

Chris Forrester, Staff Writer

It’s certainly no secret that now is a particularly tumultuous time for American politics, as well as for any sort of political discourse and interaction between people of contrasting views. I’ve seen loads of people’s complaints all over Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter about a plethora of different things, but one that irks me considerably more than some of the others, is complaints about being “unfriended” (or unfollowed, depending on the platform) over politics. The typical posters of such comments tend to feel that such behavior is juvenile and/or childish; merely a lazy solution for a scenario in which two people disagree over a particular issue. And while I’m certainly no advocate for ending friendships or cutting people out of your life over mere political disputes, I think that there are some cases where “unfriending” someone over politics is perfectly permissible.

You see, the entire notion that unfriending someone over a political dispute or over a difference in views is a simplification of a far more complex issue. It’s rooted in the notion that certain views — namely those on social issues such as women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, better treatment for people of color, and the Black Lives Matter movement (to name a few) — are merely opinions.

An opinion is whether or not you like your coffee black, or whether you even like coffee at all. Even within the world of politics, an opinion (at least in the acceptable sense) is something along the lines of whether or not you thought Barack Obama was a great president; it’s whether or not you think Capitalism is a fair and effective system, whether or not you thought Bernie Sanders could have won the general election had he been the Democratic nominee. These are opinions, and they’re defined as such by the fact that they have two (or in some cases more) perfectly reasonable, defensible, and debatable sides.

An opinion is, well, an opinion; it’s something that’s neither explicitly right nor wrong, something that’s not quantifiable, something that’s subjective. LGBTQ+ rights are not a subjective issue. Whether or not women deserve equal pay, reproductive rights, and/or paid maternity leave are not subjective matters. Whether or not Black Lives Matter is not a subjective topic. I’m tired of seeing people so frequently treat such issues as the value of other human beings’ lives as if they’re merely opinions, when in reality there’s no logically sound way to discuss such issues without at least acknowledging the moral objectionability of certain views. Furthermore, the mere treatment of such things as “opinions” normalizes them as acceptable parts of political discourse which they very much aren’t.

It’s this sentiment that drives the entire notion that unfriending or harboring grudges against people because of a certain political view, or because they voted for a particular candidate is somehow childish, but when considering a vote for a particular candidate or a certain belief (particularly the aforementioned) and the implications it holds, I think that such actions are perfectly justifiable. After all, a vote isn’t “just” a vote, it’s a statement. A vote for Donald Trump isn’t merely that, but rather it’s a conscious choice to acknowledge that he, a grown man, mocked an individual for his disability, condones rape and sexual assault, believes climate change is a hoax, wants to outlaw abortion, and has vowed to ban same sex marriage, yet disregard the actual implications of such things. By voting for Donald Trump, one acknowledges the deplorable things he believes in and condones, yet excuses them, and the belief that voting for someone who wishes to restrict my rights is in any way acceptable is, quite frankly, outrageous.


So no, before you ask, I didn’t just unfriend you over political differences, I unfriended you because you voted for someone who wishes to take away my rights. I unfriended you because you voted for someone who believes that the lives of people of color are less valuable than those of whites, and that Mexicans are rapists and thugs. I unfriended you because you believe that you’re entitled to your “opinions” and because those “opinions” aren’t opinions, but rather blatantly racist, sexist, queerphobic, and all-around morally wrong views. So no, it wasn’t “just” politics.