cold and tense 10 americans on how politics changes relationships

‘Cold and Tense’: 10 Americans on How Politics Changes Relationships

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Mari Verano, 43, Vacaville, Calif.

“I ended a personal and professional relationship with someone I had chosen to mentor in graduate school because of the derogatory way he had spoken about people who were upset at Trump being elected — ‘big babies’ — people in marginalized communities that both he and I had worked in.

“I went to graduate school for mental health counseling. His words of utter dismissal and cruelty made me conclude that I could not further associate myself with him without my own reputation as a clinician being compromised.

“However, the Los Angeles City Council scandal was a reminder that just because someone votes Democrat doesn’t necessarily mean they are anti-racist. Sadly, it wasn’t a shock to me, because I have let go of white liberal friends who co-signed racism when racist comments were made toward me on social media.”

Drake Dewey, 23, Timberlake, Ohio

“No one in my family except my mother and my father know that I voted for Trump. They all think that I voted third-party. When any political discussion comes up, I give a very watered-down, moderate answer. I’ve been recommended many times to not get into any political debates with any of my family members.

“A close relative is very keen on her Democratic beliefs, and I don’t really get to express my beliefs around her. Anytime I do, I kind of feel like I’m the black sheep of the family. Another relative is a lot more vocal. She resonates so much with her beliefs that our relationship is completely fractured.

“If I were to open my mouth and say I voted for Trump, she would never, ever speak to me again — I am very sure of that. She doesn’t know, but my views are aligned enough, so I think she’s put two and two together. Ever since the election, it’s just been a very, very cold and tense relationship. Before the election, we were more concerned with enjoying each other’s company. There was a little more warmth, but since the election, I think the warmth has really just gone.”

JoAnn Jacobs, 71, Jacksonville, Fla.

“I am an African American woman. I am also a retired F.D.N.Y. firefighter who was appointed to the first class of women in 1982. We entered burning buildings; we put out dumpster fires; we responded to lockouts and car accidents. We shared bellyaching laughs over practical jokes, and watched and agonized over 18 Super Bowls. But when we disagreed about the death of Eleanor Bumpurs and, many years later, the shooting of Amadou Diallo, I realized there was a true divide that could not or would not be crossed.