By Alexandro Lopez
Editor’s Note: Below our youth reporter and writing mentor Alexandro Lopez shares a unique take on how to approach difficult political conversations. His approach? If no one else is willing to have these tough conversations with you, have them with yourself.
What are we doing and why are we doing it? Those seem to be the questions that keep coming up as I try to differentiate my thoughts from a once thoughtless category of opinion. What opinions you ask? Well let’s start with the obvious narrative of politics and all its rich participants, oh sorry, I meant rich discussions.
Q: How has the recent political climate affected your daily life?
A: Well I can say that it has impacted more people around me than anything else. I say this because I don’t affiliate myself too much with political parties or any of that manipulative lying. Another big reason is that I’m documented, and I’m not currently being directly targeted, but I soon feel it coming. I support voting but I disagree with the notion that you have to fully commit to a political party and thus be subjected to the stereotypes that accompany its image.
It’s said that the environment that an individual is subjected to has just as much of a role in their development as they themselves do, and with that being said, I feel as if I am also being suffocated of my rights.
My undocumented friends have it the worst, and I feel bad because I don’t have the sense of urgency they do. It’s not like I don’t support them, but to them it’s all or nothing with the movement, but why can’t the decision be taking a different role in the movement? Those are the things that affect me the most, and it seems like I’m being placed in a category all over again, and it just seems to be situational rather than people orientated.
Q: Has this affected any relationships that you hold with friends or family?
A: Luckily, it hasn’t so far but I feel as if my luck will run out when I start working full-time with co-workers that aren’t as liberal as students and faculty at University of California, Merced.
Even so I hate to discuss the topic of politics, particularly because I may not be as informed as other folks that are polarized in political affiliation. One thing that I’ve noticed is that no matter what kind of reasoning or facts you have, there is no real way to change another–read ignorant– person’s mind.
This is especially true with people who have been affiliated with a political party for a long time, or simply aren’t informed about empirical facts concerning the campaign. As you can tell, I haven’t engaged on this with family or friends because people will surprise you and use that bond as leverage during disputes.
Q: If certain issues that affect you directly come into play, what sort of stance would you take?
A: The same as I always have, one issue shouldn’t be able to sway me towards a side, but it’s more about who I vote from than who I affiliate with. I think that’s something that needs fixing in politics because it’s a way to guilt you or persuade you to come back to a party that you previously voted for. So if you pick a side, you may as well pick one you’re accustomed to and one you’ve already been branded as.
I have many friends that are being heavily impacted by the executive orders that Trump signed, particularly the immigration-based orders. The basis of this conversation is not having to be directly impacted by these actions to take action. Also, there are very different ways to take action against the things you don’t find right even if violence is unacceptable.
As I dig more into politics, I see that everyone is either with a group or trying to stay afloat as a truthful and independent entity. Whether you’re all for the plan, or you’re cool with some of the ideas, you’re either in or out and it becomes more about the color of your skin than what your opinion is. With that being said, think about why you might want to affiliate, vote, or disaffiliate, because I bet there are a lot of Republicans that are having this discussion a little too late.