Over the weekend, The Atlantic writer Derek Thompson posted a tweet in which he noted how “more than half of Republicans say they have a Democratic friend” while “less than a third of Democrats say they have a Republican friend.” The tweet, which also referenced a chart but which has since been deleted for some reason, can be seen here in archived form.
Thompson appeared to be referencing an American Enterprise Institute study done in May that found that “Just over half of Republicans, 53 percent, said they have at least some friends who are Democrats… while about a third of Democrats (32 percent) said they have at least some Republican friends.” It lines up with many other studies done in recent years on the political makeup of friendships.
CBS News White House reporter Kathryn Watson, who we’ve noted here before has the rare distinction of being a reporter viewed by conservatives as one who calls things done the line, took note of the tweet and marveled at how anyone could not count among them friends of differing political persuasions:
This is so wild to me. I can’t imagine not having friends across the political spectrum. https://t.co/CMpiUIEmNp
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) July 25, 2021
Unintentionally, Watson’s comments revived the ongoing debate over whether or not Republicans and Democrats can be friends, and prompted some scolding from dishonest liberal hacks like Vox.com’s Aaron Rupar, who apparently wasn’t looking in the mirror when he composed his response:
It’s hard to be friends with intolerant and irrational people
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 25, 2021
First things first: Polls like the one mentioned above further prove the point that it is conservatives who are actually more tolerant of differing political viewpoints than liberals are, contrary to all the “COEXIST” bumper stickers in circulation and the endless lectures we get from the mainstream media about how “closed-minded” conservatives supposedly are. That said, there are still many on the right who prefer to stay in their own bubble rather than give time to someone on the left.
Second and more importantly, Watson is right. The world would be a very boring and dull place if people only associated with other like-minded individuals, and that includes when it comes to politics. I’m not saying the right needs to hold hands with woke leftists and liberal outrage mobs, but it is okay to break bread with Average Joes and Janes who think differently when it comes to politics, maybe even talk about a few topics over a plate of Southern BBQ.
Outside of Washington, D.C., and state capitols, most people manage to have political discussions without it turning into something rancorous. And at the end of the day, they’ll buy each other a beer and/or a nice steak dinner. It’s part of what makes America so great.
Think about this, too: If people from opposing sides avoided each other all the time, how would any minds get changed? How could people fine-tune their arguments without giving the other side a good listen?
As an example, a long-time friend of mine who is a life-long liberal hates it when I remind him that I learned some of my best debate techniques from going back and forth with him. We’ve had passionate discussions in the past trying to persuade each other on a particular point of view, and while we never changed each other’s minds, his willingness to have friendly sparring matches with me when time permitted allowed me to sharpen my claws a bit and helped prepare me for later battles I fought (and still fight) against the left.
I’ve said before that oftentimes a political disagreement among friends and family members is just that: A political disagreement. Nothing sinister about it. Just people talking and debating. It involves well-intentioned people who disagree on what constitutes a “problem” in America and, even more importantly, how to solve it.
More of that and less of the shouting matches (though admittedly entertaining at times) we frequently see on cable news networks would certainly be a welcome and refreshing change of pace, wouldn’t it?