Can Our Relationships Survive Our Politics?

Image source: Gizmodo

Well, we made it through the election and are collectively left to pick up the pieces of a bitter fight to the finish. Approximately half of the country is elated and the other half is dejected. In other words, as we’ve been told for months now by an excitable media, we are a country divided. Was this the most contentious election in history? I don’t know. I think history shows that politics can be an ugly business. Often that seems to be true on the national stage, where parties and personalities clash. But what happens on a smaller scale when friends and family fight about politics? When political disagreements put a wedge between relationships that have thrived for years, even decades?

In October, The Public Insight Network (PIN) collaborated with the radio program This American Life (TAL) to gather stories about how political divisions are affecting the lives of everyday Americans. To hear all of the stories they’ve collected to date, you can visit the interactive Story Map of “families, friendships and communities strained by politics” on the PIN website. Click image below to be taken to the website:

Story Map

For a sampling of what you’ll find there, here are 10 short radio snippets in which ordinary Americans tell their stories of political divisions and relationship breakdowns:

For a more in-depth look at stories like these, I recommend the hour-long radio program broadcast November 1 on This American Life. Called Red State Blue State, it was billed as a pre-election show. But I think now that the dust has settled, it’s even more important to think about our ongoing relationships post-election and moving forward. Can we get past our differences and begin to heal the rifts of a contentious political season? I for one certainly hope so, if only for the sake of our own – and our country’s – emotional well-being.

Click image below to be taken to the TAL show’s page with embedded audio player:


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