It’s Election Day, which means your timeline is probably about to get flooded with memes, utter despair and a bunch of your mates outing themselves as Trump supporters. So, what do you do in that situation?
Well, for starters, you can probably let out a big sigh, grunt or whatever noise you need to release your initial frustration. But then what?
Usually, when it comes to politics, it’s easier to just agree to disagree. But we’re not talking about a few minor policies here, we’re talking about fundamental human rights. So it’s really not that easy to just agree to disagree.
How Good Of A Friend Are They?
Before you waste your energy biffing with that weird guy from high school that you’re not even sure why you’re still Facebook friends with, you should probably weigh up how important this person is to you.
Are they a close friend? A coworker? An ex-boyfriend’s sister?
I’m going to split it into three categories for you:
- Randoms you’re not even sure why you’re still Facebook friends with.
- Your closest friends/family.
- Friends, coworkers and other acquaintances.
If you’re not sure why you’re still digitally connected to this person, it’s probably not worth your energy to start a political debate with them. I’m not saying you should let them be racist on the TL, but it’s gonna be a long week, so it’s probably easier to just ignore people you wouldn’t actually associate with IRL.
When it comes to your immediate friend circle/family, you probably already know if they’re a Trump supporter by now. I feel for you if your close friends and/or family are MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporters, but that’s a much more complex issue.
But, in my opinion, the hardest group to handle are general friends/acquaintances. You know, your coworkers, party friends, high school friends. The people you still want to be friends with, but it’s not the end of the world if you have to cut them off. Think: friends you wouldn’t invite to your wedding.
These are the people you’re probably going to be most shocked by. So, should you tell Janice from accounting to stop being a Trump-supporting moron? Should you block her? Or should you just try to ignore it?
How Informed Are They?
The next question to ask yourself before you declare an all-out war on your Facebook timeline is ‘how informed is this person?’
Most people you encounter probably don’t know a hell of a lot about US politics, and are probably buying into Trump’s comments about how Joe Biden wants to raise taxes, ignoring the fact that they’ll likely never earn enough to be impacted by those policies.
Before you get into any political debate, you should probably assume that the person you’re talking to hasn’t actually done much research into each candidate’s policies on tax, education, how to handle COVID, etc.
Sure, this might be frustrating, but it also means that Sharon from your yoga class might actually just be uninformed, and not a horrible, racist woman who you should cut out of your life.
In this case, you can choose to share some helpful information with them, such as the fact that Joe Biden’s tax policy won’t see increases for anyone who earns under $400,000USD ($556,000AUD) annually. Chances are, most people you encounter won’t ever actually fall into that tax bracket.
Here are just a few resources to help you out:
- All the misleading claims Trump made in his first 100 days alone – Washington Post
- A history of Trump straight-up denying the existence of climate change – Down To Earth
- Just every sexist/offensive thing Trump has said about women in one place – Telegraph
- An oral history of Trump’s racism and bigotry – The Atlantic
Why Are They Supporting Trump?
If you’ve decided that they’re a close enough friend to warrant discussing it, and they’re informed enough to know what they’re talking about, you should probably ask yourself WHY they’re pro-Trump. This is where it gets difficult.
Although the state of the US right now makes Scott Morrison look like he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, the fundamental issues at play here aren’t that different. And as harsh as it may seem, you’re probably not an asshole if you choose to distance yourself from someone for their choice of president in this election.
Determining *why* somebody supports Trump is the real issue at play here because you probably don’t want to be friends with someone who holds sexist, racist or otherwise shitty views.
Honestly, it’s probably not worth throwing the “grab her by the pussy” comment at them right now, especially if your mate has already publicly outed themselves as a Trump supporter. But what you *could* do is have a conversation with them about the issues that you’re most concerned about.
Is your friend a COVID denier? Are they racist? Do they treat women badly? These are the questions you should ask yourself, and ask your friend.
Maybe they’re not racist, but if they’re happy to overlook somebody’s racist behaviours for the sake of the economy, that says something about them too.
What Should You Do?
All things considered, it’s your call to make.
Personally, I don’t think it’s worth getting into a huge fight in the comments of someone’s Facebook post. And, from my experience, it generally doesn’t yield positive results. So, what should you do?
It’s probably worth having a chat with your mate about the issues that offend you, perhaps without even bringing up the election. You can talk to them about racism, gender equality, or whatever other issue is upsetting you, gauge where their head is at, then bring up the Trump thing. This way you’re not blatantly attacking them, but if they’re against racism, they may actually realise that Trump doesn’t really represent them as much as they first thought.
But if your mate’s decision to support Trump shows that you fundamentally disagree on serious issues like racism, LGBTQI+ rights, the handling of a pandemic or anything remotely serious, you’re well within your rights to cut them out.
It’s completely your call on whether you make a big deal about it, or just quietly distance yourself.