I'm a a Republican. Surprisingly to some, I don't twirl my nonexistent mustache, rub my hands together feverishly, nor cackle maniacally as I rob cheat and steal candy from babies, and money from the middle class to fill my already full grain silos with even more money (especially since I'm in the middle class myself)
I'm not going to take away a woman's right to choose... regardless of my views on the subject-- I don't have that power (for that matter neither does the president... but that's a civics lesson for another day). I'm not going to run around with duct tape trying to tape the mouths of Justices of the Peace shut so they can't perform weddings or civil unions for homosexuals. I wouldn't want anyone telling me whom I can or can't love and marry, so why would I go around telling others whom they can or can't marry?
My religious and my political views are mutually exclusive. I believe a person's relationship with their higher being of choice (or lack thereof) is very personal. A person's religious or moral beliefs can be a compass, but should never be a map, for their political beliefs. At the same time it's something that can be shared with other like minded individuals if one so chooses, but not something to be forced down the throats of those who do not agree.
Over the course of my life I've both made friends with and distanced myself from people of many different walks of life, political affiliations, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations. Respect isn't a right, it's a privilege, it must be earned. I was raised to give everyone equal opportunity to earn my respect and I was raised with the belief that the respect others extend to me must also be earned.
A person's ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion, and political affiliation are all aspects of who a person is. They aren't the whole. They are parts of a whole. My life experience has taught me that when it comes to the good people I know in my life, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Focusing on only the "parts" that make us up as individuals, we sometimes dismiss and miss out on the whole of that person, much to our own detriment. I've also learned that learning "why" someone is, is far more enlightening and makes for far more enriching friendships and personal interactions than learning merely "what" or "who" they are.
Sadly, given the speed and pace of our culture, we've stopped taking the time to interact with one another. We seek the safety of those who share our beliefs and backgrounds rather than the challenge of getting to know those who don't. It's something we are ALL guilty of (self included). Our whole culture, down to our interactions with one another has become "fast food/convenience" oriented. We've stopped making the time to get to know one another better in favor of getting by on knowing just enough about one another to get by. Assumptions are made and polarity based on those assumptions ensues. Rather than focus on all the ingredients that separate us, instead we should search for the salt-- it's the ingredient found in everything, it's that which we all share.
Admit it, you meet a person for the first time and if the subject of politics comes up and that person self-identifies as conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican you make a snap judgment on that person's entire character and if that person's political affiliation differs from yours, walls go up and both of you end up going on the defensive. It's something I believe we're all guilty of from time to time (although, not necessarily EVERY time). Unfortunately, this is a product of being far too focused on our differences and not focused enough (or at all) on our similarities.
So skip the fast food, take the time to make your friendships and social interactions in crock pots, they taste better and are far more fulfilling. Oh and please pass the salt.