I had a friend who was seeing a guy. He was tall. He was handsome. He was older. And he was American – Southern, in fact. He was for gun control. He had a great job. And frankly, he seemed to really have his sh*t together. Everything was playing out just like it would in your favourite romantic movie – up until news broke of the recently passed, and immensely controversial, heartbeat bill in Alabama. A bill that not only outlaws pregnancy termination after a heartbeat is detected, regardless of conception via incest or rape, but will also charge any doctors who perform the procedure with a felony and up to 99 years in prison.
More than what the actual rapist would be charged with. More than the pitiful 6 month sentence that Brock Turner, convicted rapist, was sentenced with for two counts of rape, two counts of felony sexual assault, and an additional charge of attempted rape.
So one night, not too long ago, my friend and her American dream boat met up like they normally would and as conversation went on mention of this news was brought up. “This is one of the best motions to have been passed in a while” he said. Well, that friend? She was me. I am that friend. And let me tell you, when those words rolled off the tip of his tongue my jaw hit the floor so fast and so hard that anyone in a 5 mile radius would have felt seismic activity.
I questioned him. I asked him what he meant. I asked him if he fully understood what he was vocally supporting. “But what if it were you sister or your own daughter? Do they not have a right to their own bodies?”. He said he knew what he was supporting and he meant what he said – it’s up to us as women to bring the pregnancy to term and give the child away if we don’t want it. It’s what we were made for.
I’m sure you can assume, I left not long after that bombshell was dropped and I haven’t seen him since.
But now it has me thinking: Where should we draw the line when it comes to political differences in our relationships? Should we allow our political stance to affect our opinions of one another in a romantic coupling or should politics be kept as a subject where you simply agree to disagree if necessary?
This is a tricky question, and up until this moment it honestly hadn’t been something that I had thought about. When it comes to friendships I am very relaxed. Some of my friends proudly support labour; some are conservatives; and few – bewilderingly to me – refuse to even follow the current politics at all. When it comes to our friendships though, they still flourish. We talk about it. We debate it. The common denominator being that there is always respect. Respect for each others opinions, respect enough to become educated towards their views, and respect enough to know that even though we have our differences our spirits and souls are kind and our core values are the same. But that is for friendships. What happens when your political party opinions differ with someone who could quite possibly be your life partner?
Like I said, I’m still pondering this.
With active interest in current politics on the rise and online dating apps changing the way we find love, apps like Hinge are putting your political beliefs front and centre and giving you the option to instantly filter out any potential matches based on which political party they support, making it one of the top dating non-negotiables for our generation. But is it all black and white? If someone is fiscally conservative does that mean they are socially conservative also? Can we put people into a square box politically? What happens if someone has a multi-faceted standpoint?
When it comes to the instance of my too-good-too-be-true American ‘flame’, I don’t see it as a political difference, even though it most definitely is being used in the political realm, but I more so see it as an opposing stance on core values, basic fundamental human rights, and stances on equality for women and the entitlement to the rights of their own bodies – so the decision to walk away isn’t something I regret, or can imagine that I will ever regret in my lifetime. But it did give me some food for thought, so I guess that’s something.