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The Sad Reality of Political Division in the Family

The sad reality today is that political division has crept into the family. I run across news articles and hear families talk about how different political views have caused damage to relationships or even division to the point of not talking or spending time together.

Pause here, families. Ask some important questions.

  • Is it worth breaking relationships over political views?

  • If a family member passes away while the division exists or you’re not speaking, will you have regrets?

  • Can you choose to disagree on some matters while maintaining familial love?

None of us know the day and hour we will pass from this life. One of the biggest life regrets people deal with is the unsettled matters amongst family members when there is an unexpected or untimely death and reconciliation becomes impossible. I’d encourage all of us to consider this possibility as we deal with a polarized world of politics right now. We can make choices that will lessen or eliminate regrets over broken relationships so that no matter what the future holds, we won’t find ourselves facing separation without resolution. Here are some choices to consider for families with differing political views.

Call a family meeting and open with a group decision to respect that each person, as a thinking individual, has the right to their opinion on political matters. Explain it, have a discussion, and get agreement before proceeding.

Determine if politics will be off limits during family gatherings or if you will set ground rules to contain disagreements. Each family is different. Set limits or make rules in a way that works for your family.

Decide to be genuine with one another on all other matters. This may sound odd but at risk with polarizing topics is the comfort of being fully genuine in other areas. Honest, mature relationships require trust. If we’ve decided to either eliminate politics entirely from family discussions or limit them greatly, we must work to keep the boundaries we’ve set from quenching or chilling other interactions. We need to remember that grandma and grandpa still love the grandkids, parents still love their children and children love their parents, that aunts and uncles, and cousins still share special bonds. The bottom line, decide that your family shares a bond worth protecting.

Politics affect our daily lives, but the political landscape changes regularly while family relationships remain lifelong connections. If we agree that family shares a bond worth protecting, then prioritizing family over politics may be the best choice for many right now.

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