Love Thy Neighbor: Or Why I Can’t Be Friends with a Trump Supporter


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Partisan animosity has increased substantially over the past two decades, according to Pew Research Center. In each party, the share with a highly negative view of the opposing party has more than doubled since 1994.

I can appreciate the need for interaction among people with differing opinions. I can even sit at the same table as someone who disagrees with me and not throw my drink on them. What I can’t imagine, however, is being best friends with someone voting for Trump in the upcoming election. A recent KXAN article documented the unlikely friendship between Cedar Park, TX residents Tasha Reese and Marne Litton, who are voting for Biden and Trump respectively.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I appreciate all opinions, and I have nothing against someone simply because they have a different opinion than me. During the 2016 election, I tried to remain close to my friends and family that planned to vote for Trump, hoping that in the end, our differing opinions would not affect our relationships. However, I can no longer entertain the opinions of those who continue to threaten the livelihood of those I love. 

My wife, in her first year of teaching first grade, has dealt with the inaptitude of this presidency’s response to the pandemic. She is expected to teach students both online and in-person, all while making sure she doesn’t become ill from the potentially asymptomatic children she is now entrusted to educate. Meanwhile, I continue to work twelve-hour shifts in the emergency room treating very ill COVID-19 patients while Gov. Abbott encourages bars to reopen and President Trump leaves hospital care ill and contagious from the virus responsible for killing 200,000+ Americans

While both of our student debt continues to rack up interest and we are about to be plunged into the uncertainty of the 2021 job market, I can’t imagine barbequing with my neighbor as she hammers another Trump sign into her perfectly manicured grass. Like the two Cedar Park residents mention in the KXAN story, it’s okay to have differing opinions, and I respect that. But there is too much at stake with this election (again) for us to remain friends with people who are voting to actively remove protections for women, the LGBTQ+ community, and minorities. You see, this isn’t about my inability to agree to disagree or my desire to shield my eyes from those who have an opposing view: this is about irreconcilable differences in our core values and morals. This is about the support of someone who threatens the lives of those around me, the ones he claims to care about. So while I think it’s important to love thy neighbor, I can’t be your friend. And no, I won’t come to your barbeque. Sure, I’ll wave when we both grab our newspapers, but I’ll make sure to make a donation under your name to the Biden/Harris campaign when I order my sign to counter yours in our adjoining yards. I know this election has been divisive (again), and I won’t antagonize you, but I don’t agree with you and I never will.