Political Orientation: Does It Matter?

Anjali Sundaram, Reporter

Political Orientation: Does It Matter?

Never ask a woman her weight, adults their salary or friends their political orientation. That was the mantra that many students were taught from a young age. Yet, with social media, political orientation is becoming more prominent to one’s social status and intertwined with creating and keeping friendships.

While political orientation should not be the main factor when trying to cultivate a friendship, it does play a role, according to senior Claudia Sychev.

“[It matters] to a certain extent,” Sychev said. “Although, I think it’s mixed in with critical thought, because some people go for certain political ideologies out of emotion, familial ties or random bad experiences but don’t actually think of the consequences of what they say. They think in abstract ideologies rather than individual human beings.”

Often, we are drawn to people that share the same perspective and moral standards, but the most important part is holding on to your own beliefs, according to Sychev.

“My friends are aligned in my political views,” Sychev said. “But whenever I talk to someone who differs [from my belief] I am very careful to be understanding but hold tight to my own political beliefs. I usually avoid people who lack intellectual conversational abilities, so I haven’t dealt with anyone who is out right aggressive with my beliefs.”

To Sychev, it is not the thought that they directly oppose her beliefs and morals that matters, it is someone’s ability to recognize the immorality of  their ideology and still believe it anyway.

Junior Abby Brown has a different take on political orientation, however, as she feels they shouldn’t even matter when trying to cultivate a friendship.

“I mean, you shouldn’t just state them [political beliefs] right away after meeting a person or even when trying to make friends with the person,” Brown said. “I am friends with people of different political beliefs and it doesn’t bother me because everybody has their own beliefs.”

Difference in opinion and perspective is crucial to self-growth, according to Brown, and is important when learning how to respect others’ morals and values.

“I think that’s not good [to judge someone on their beliefs] because everybody should be okay with the choices of other people and their beliefs and not base friendships off that,” Brown said. “I don’t believe what your political beliefs are should dictate who you hang out with.”

The sense of respect for one another is the part that senior Easton Jenkins believes creates a true friendship, despite having different views.

“I don’t think that political orientation matters when you become someone’s friend,” Jenkins said. “But, if you have different opinions and you still respect each other, then it makes you better friends because your friendship has overcome a barrier and that’s cool.”