Political hate ruins friendships

Published 11:04 am Thursday, September 29, 2016

There is no doubt this presidential election has brought out the worst in people. In fact, it has ruined friendships.

Americans seem as divided over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump as Ole Miss and Mississippi State fans are about which team deserves to win the Egg Bowl.

Much of the angst lives on social media, and statistics suggest the hateful comments are driving a wedge through long-standing friendships.

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According to a Monmouth poll, 7 percent of people said they lost a friend directly because of the presidential race. Slightly more supporters of Clinton reported losing friends than did Trump supporters.

Though, to be fair, it seems it isn’t just this particular election that ruins relationships. Seven percent reported also ending friendships due to past elections.

What is unusual is a full 70 percent of those surveyed say this election has brought out the worst in people, compared to just 4 percent who said it has brought out the best. On a similar note, 65 percent of voters say the harsh language used in politics today is “unjustified,” though there are large differences on that aspect depending on who the person supports. About 47 percent of Trump supporters said the harsh language was justified, compared to 17 percent of Clinton supporters.

I like to think my politics are more moderate and lean toward conservative than liberal, so a majority of my social media posts are more right wing, which does not sit well with some of my more liberal Facebook friends — many of whom have gotten into disagreements with me. And there have been instances when those individuals have unfriended me.

Much of the political hate among friends can be attributed to both presidential candidates taking the lead in the constant barrage of hate talk toward one another at campaign rallies and political ads rather than focusing on the numerous issues facing our country.

While we may not be able to agree on politics, I think we all can agree that our nation needs to come together as Americans, which means we have more in common than just political differences.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford
EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.