Because President Donald Trump is such a polarizing figure, families have ended relationships with each other based on political leanings. This may permanently affect our societies.
Mayra Gomez has been a lifelong Democrat. But when she recently told her 21-year-old son that she was voting for Donald Trump during the 2020 Presidential elections, he cut her out of his life—for good. Gomez is not alone. Like her's, many families have been torn apart due to clashing political stances over the past four years, Reuters reports. Many believe this is the Trump effect; because he is such a polarizing figure, Americans are willing to end relationships over allegiance to him. Moving forward from a widespread disruption of the country's social fabric, it appears, may not be easy.
“We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”— LaShyra “Lash” Nolen (@LashNolen) August 2, 2020
One of my favorite #JamesBaldwin quotes. Happy Birthday and thank you for your brilliance that continues to inspire the movement.
That James Baldwin quote couldn’t be more true, and greatly explains that we literally cannot be friends if you’re a Trump supporter, pro-life, etc. your opinions are deeply rooted in mine, and someone’s else’s simple humanity.— Josh♦️ (@josh_wilson53) May 21, 2019
"He specifically told me, ‘You are no longer my mother, because you are voting for Trump,'" Gomez, 41, shared. "The damage is done. In people’s minds, Trump is a monster. It’s sad. There are people not talking to me anymore, and I’m not sure that will change." She fears she may not be able to reconcile her relationship with him as their last conversation was so bitter. She, like many others like her, believes that healing her now-broken relationship with her son will "be difficult if not impossible to repair" even after the sitting President has left office.
CNN’s Don Lemon says he had to get rid of a lot of friends of his that are Trump supporters:— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 30, 2020
"I just had to get rid of a lot of people in my life because sometimes you have to let them go. I think they have to hit rock bottom like an addict.”pic.twitter.com/OTou3b54s4
In interviews with 10 people, five of whom supported the current President and another five who backed his competitor, Democractic candidate Joe Biden, few believed their severed relationships would ever heal fully due to political differences. Most, in fact, claimed those relationships were "lost forever." Can these ruptures in our social fabric be fixed after Trump leaves office? Jaime Saal, a psychotherapist at the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine in Rochester Hills, Michigan, thinks doing so will take time. She stated, "Unfortunately, I don’t think national healing is as easy as changing the President. It takes time and it takes effort, and it takes both parties (no pun intended) being willing to let go and move forward."
"Dude, I'm done. Lose my number." Across the country, more Americans are reporting they're cutting friends and even family members out of their lives based on how they vote: https://t.co/iEfpawd7bz— GBH News (@GBHNews) October 28, 2020
In her practice, she has seen tensions rise most in relationships between siblings and parents or in-laws. Political rifts are less likely with spouses. These rifts, the psychotherapist believes, is a result of the political, health, and social dynamics facing the United States. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in September reported that almost 80% of both Trump and Biden supporters said they had "few or no friends who supported the other candidate." Additionally, earlier in January, Gallup found that Trump’s third year in office set a new record for party polarization.
ppl are all "it's childish to end friendships over politics" &im like i dont feel guilty at all cutting off racists homophobes & transphobes— baby bitch (@veryann0yed) July 22, 2016
For 49-year-old Democratic voter Rosanna Guadagno, this was a particularly painful truth; Her brother disowned her when she refused to support Trump during his first Presidential run four years ago. When her mother suffered a stroke last year and died six months later, her brother did not let her know. She was informed via email three days after her mother's death by her sister-in-law. She said, "I was excluded from everything that had to do with her death, and it was devastating." Though she still loves him, Guadagno claimed she would never be able to reconcile with him.
I cut off people I've spent literally my whole life around. It started really around 2014 -15 when it got very bad, and then Trump entered the race and then it was just over. I couldn't stomach them anymore.— Michael Abrams (@havik912) May 25, 2020
Jay J. Van Bavel, a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, believes this is because Trump is more than just a President—he is a signifier of people's core values. He affirmed, "Because Trump has been one of the most polarizing figures in American history around core values and issues, people are unwilling to compromise and that is not something you can make go away." There is no doubt that the President has left a lasting impression on the United States, for better or for worse. Sadly, the divisions he caused may be here to stay—long after he has left the White House.
“cutting off friendships over politics is-“ warranted. that’s what it is. if you vote against my well-being; against the lives of millions of struggling americans, you’re telling us exactly how you feel about us and i will NOT keep y’all fucking snakes around me.— 𝓥 for vendetta (@glowyaquarius) December 16, 2019