While political differences amongst family members are absolutely nothing new, the rifts formed over the past five years feel different. In many cases, strongly liberal or conservative loved ones went from having an unmentioned contract to prevent going over politics, to declaring specific relative with opposing perspectives “dead to them.”
The 2016 election intensified existing political polarization, galvanizing both sides throughout the period of the Trump administration. It became more than getting upset with family members who disagree with you on tax rates or healthcare plans. For some, it crossed the line into seeing somebody who supported a particular political leader or ideology as being morally flawed– to the point where a shared origins was not enough of a reason to continue to maintain a relationship.
And after that last week’s domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol occurred. For some Trump advocates, it marked a turning point. After seeing pictures of tear gas being released in the Rotunda as their fellow Trump lovers waved confederate flags, they reached the point of no longer wanting (or being able to) safeguard or support the president. Still others had a completely various response, doubling down on their loyalty to the outgoing commander-in-chief and becoming more entrenched in an ideology rooted in white supremacy.
Still, for some families with right-wing uncles coming to grips with current occasions, there is currently a window of opportunity to have productive political discussions and begin to fix up. And provided how tough the past 4 years have been, people might feel pressured to resolve this instantly, prior to the minute passes (or the Trump’s pending 2nd impeachment trials triggers people to pull back to their previously held beliefs). Other families might see numerous members becoming much more radicalized after last week, and now have to choose how– and whether– to continue to preserve any type of relationship with them.
Tell us in the remarks: Has last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol been a turning point for your family? Was it the last straw for members who formerly supported Trump, today see him in a various light, and wish to apologize? Or has it deepened existing political divides, possibly triggering your family to reach the point of cutting certain members out completely, and giving up on any possibility of mending fences?
If you’ve had initial conversations about reconciling and moving forward, what strategies have worked? And what have you attempted that didn’t work– or made things worse?