He Said… She Said

by James Joy and Mindy Marks

I have been dating my boyfriend for two years and we normallyagree on most things. He goes to another school and we see eachother a lot during the week.

We both follow politics some and I am voting for Bush and he isvoting for Kerry. Because of the election we have been fighting alot about our choices and I was wondering if I should vote for hisguy to make peace or blackmail him to vote for mine.

He says

You should stand by your convictions, as should your boyfriend.Voting is very important and should be encouraged regardless ofparty loyalty.

Many successful couples learn how to separate their politicalconflicts from their relationship and enjoy the animated discussionit brings. With that said, there are as many or more relationshipsthat fail for the same reason. This is where you’ll have to findout if yours is strong enough to endure that difference ofopinion.

The whole idea of changing each others’ votes is an option thatshould be forgotten. Changing your vote because it’s preferred bysomeone else makes you a flip-flopper. And based on who you’revoting for, that’s a quality you don’t admire.

The number one problem with political discussions is that theyinevitably become attacks on each other and not the candidatesthemselves. Don’t let personal attacks drive you apart forgood.

After the election, hopefully everyone can be focused on unitingthis country again and you can start by uniting yourrelationship.


She says

Why do you feel like one of you has to compromise your beliefsto please the other?

You don’t have to give up your voice just because you’re in arelationship.

It’s OK to disagree on anything as long as you use opencommunication to rationally discuss your problems.

If you’re going to discuss politics, religion, etc. with people,you need to respect their opinions and recognize that you can’talways change them. These are subjects people feel passionatelyabout and getting in a blowout fight won’t make anyone think moreof you.

It’s like the guys that go to The Zoo wearing Central Collegejerseys.

They know they’ll cause controversy at a rival school and arebringing it on themselves, yet it doesn’t stop them from coming.Don’t be like that.

Deeply caring about issues is not the problem, the problem lieswith people who don’t care.

Be respectful and be righteous.

The voice of reason



My answer would be neither of the above. I don’t believe thatit’s necessary for you to both have the same political preferencesin order to have a good relationship.

There is currently a very prominent example of this dynamic.Mary Matalin, most recently a counselor to Vice-President DickCheney and formerly head of George H.W. Bush’s re-election campaignin 1992, and James Carville, Democratic consultant and formerlyhead of Bill Clinton’s campaign for President in 1992, are happilymarried with two daughters. If such high-powered, passionate,partisans are able to get past their political differences, thensurely you and your boyfriend can.

In addition, I would also offer that you are both fairlyyoung.

If your relationship were to continue past college intomarriage, one of the most common causes of changes in partyidentification is marrying someone who supports a different party.Presumably, you and he share a variety of values. Being marriedmight lead to some sort of compromise on the issues you disagree onnow – you might even end up both supporting the same party.

Either way, I would say you should vote for Kerry and let himvote for Bush, and see who wins.