On November 08th of last year, I sat on my bed with a blanket over me as I watched the election results pour in. My phone buzzed and I looked down to see a text from one of my friends from last year's senior class. She asked me if I was watching, and I replied saying I was. I came to school the next day feeling as though I was surrounded by echoes of all I'd previously known. The same girl and I stayed back in our first class as we wordlessly watched Hillary Clinton's concession speech with our teacher. Tears rolled down my face and I tried my best to take deep breaths. As the school day came to an end, I walked toward the office to leave. I passed by a guy in my class wearing a red, "Make America Great Again" hat. I looked at him and said congratulations, trying to be as big of a person as I could muster. He shook my hand and said thank you.
In the past year, a lot has happened. Politically, I still believe we're in a mess. I don't agree with what is happening. I don't agree with what is being said by the President. I don't think we're going in a good direction. Even so, I have still been able to find some good in all of this bad. For starters, that guy wearing the hat the day after the election? Over the past year, he has become one of my best friends, and that's what I want to talk about today.
Both of us are very outspoken individuals, and we don't shy away from sharing our opinions when it is appropriate to do so (over the past year I've learned when it's an appropriate time and when it isn't). We're on opposite sides of political spectrum, too. Seriously, over the summer we both took a quiz and we're literally exact opposites. Despite this, we have a lot of things in common. Both of us have a huge interest in learning about other countries and cultures. I'm the SA Religious Vice President, and he's the Senior Class Pastor. We also both find Gary Johnson interviews extremely humorous, and sitting next to each other in Government class for the first quarter proved to be a quite enjoyable time. We're both in the book club, and and we both write poetry. Despite our political differences, we're very similar at our core.
That's what this past year has taught me: Who we are at our core has nothing to do with who we voted for. Who we are at our core has everything to do with our character. I would hope that you vote for the person who best aligns with your character, but that's not my point. My point is we have to find the middle ground. We can't paint everyone with the same brush. We can't find the one thing we disagree on and only focus on that. If we do that, nothing will ever change. I believe that we all want one thing in common- to be happy. We may have different views of what happiness is, but we all want it. We can't be happy if we're fighting all the time. Don't get me wrong, I'm still doing all I can to make this world a better place, I just don't think fighting with everyone is my way of doing that.
Finding a middle ground when it comes to politics is not easy. Trust me, I should know. But in the past year I've learned to find at least one thing I relate to with the people I disagree with. Whether that has to do with politics, or the fact that we both like Harry Potter and pizza. Sometimes it's hard, but it's never impossible.