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'You are no longer my mother': How the 2020 Presidential elections have torn families apart

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.

'You are no longer my mother': How the 2020 Presidential elections have torn families apart
Image Source: Across The U.S. Voters Flock To The Polls On Election Day. DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 03. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

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.

 



 

 



 

 

"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.

 



 

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."

 



 

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.

 



 

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.

 



 

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.

 



 

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