Social media is an interesting place to escape every now and then. Twitter in particular is a fascinating place. It is easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole when you look at the replies to a particular tweet. This happened to me today. I read a tweet from a woman that was disgusted that her husband of five years was still supporting Donald Trump. She was considering divorce.
The beauty of Twitter is that you can see dilemmas encapsulated into short bursts of words. The downside of Twitter is that you see the replies in short bursts of words. I experienced something similar earlier in the day when I attempted to engage a guy when he said that mainstream media had created the myth that Donald Trump was racist. I bowed out. It just wasn’t worth the effort.
As someone that has studied a little psychology, I’m more interested in this overall topic. The topic of Trump’s racism is just not interesting anymore. It’s so obvious that for those that can’t see it there is nothing I can really say. However, the issue of relationships is interesting on a psychological, personal, political, and historical level.
Interracial marriages used to be so rare that they were illegal in some jurisdictions. Couples that came from vastly different religious backgrounds were also rare. They may still be rare. Data is understandably old, but the rate almost doubled for interracial marriages in the last census. It was 15.1 percent in 2010. It jumped to 17 percent in 2015.
We see similar trends in interreligious marriage. The rates for marriage between a couple from different sects of Christianity hasn’t increased that much. However, the rates of couples from completely different backgrounds has doubled since 1960. Overall, 81 percent of marriages in 1960 involved both parties being from the same faith background. That dropped to 61 percent in 2014.
So, the new taboo appears to be interpolitical marriages. The responses from the Twitter followers seemed to demonstrate why. Liberals and progressives wanted this woman to get a divorce. Conservative men took the opportunity to insult the woman. Conservative women asked for his digits. A smattering expressed regret that this kind of issue would destroy a marriage.
It’s difficult to put on the therapist hat in this kind of situation. It involves looking at the situation completely impartially. The best I can come up with is that we should know as much about our partner as we can before we marry them. According to the woman, she knew he was a Republican before they married. So, one has to decide whether that’s a deal breaker. It’s the same as marrying a Yankees fan or Cowboys fan.
On the other hand, I get the difference between being a conservative and being a Trump supporter. My wife is a conservative. She’s a conservative in the classical sense. She wants the government to stay out of our lives and she wants the government to live within its means. She also didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 and won’t again. If she were a Trump supporter I’d have to seriously evaluate the situation. I don’t think I’d leave, but you never know until you are in that situation.
This is all proof that this election isn’t a policy debate. It’s not about foreign policy or domestic policy. It’s not about tax policy. This election is about who we are. I know who I am. I know who I want those around me to be. I know not everyone agrees with me. The hard part is deciding what we want to tolerate. In that case, I can’t judge. On the one hand, life is too short to be with someone you can’t respect. On the other hand, life is awfully lonely if we exclude people we disagree with.