I’ve talked about this topic before but it needs repeating, I think, because it’s a serious one.
Sarah Hoyt points me to this article about the difficulties of dating outside one’s political purview. Well, duh. In my parents’ time, it was religion that could be the sticking point. Never mind the big differences (Jews and Christians etc.): there were huge problems within the same religious groups too (Orthodox vs. Reform Jews, Catholic vs. Protestant Christians, and so on). The old saw was: “Never marry outside your faith”, because the schism was regarded as too deep to be overcome by marriage and could prove to be a fatal obstacle to happiness. Of course, that means that there’s a fundamental difference between philosophies: was Christ truly the Son of God, or just a major prophet? Serious stuff.
As the political process has become polarized, of course it wasinevitable that political differences would spill over into the social sphere. The differences were always there, of course: I remember howling with laughter at the 1960s Ann Landers story of the woman whose husband hid her dentures on Voting Day so that she couldn’t go out and vote Democrat. (Nowadays, she’d sue him for violating her civil rights and file for divorce, but that’s a rant for another time.)
Some differences can be ignored, of course; when I first met The Mrs., I used to refer to her as my “Liberal Rubbish Girlfriend” because she was living in Beverley Hills and hated guns. Maybe nowadays the latter would be a sticking-point (it would be for me), but back then it was different — and she was socially- and politically conservative. (Of course, she later came round to my way of thinking on guns and became a proud gun owner but I’ve told that story before.)
But I honestly think that political viewpoints have now sharpened to the point where social interaction has become almost impossible to people of such polarized opinion as progressive-liberal vs. conservative; it’s become a Christian / Muslim-type schism rather than a mild Episcopal / Presbyterian difference, if you will. Now, there is a fundamental and contradictory conflict as to how society should work: the primacy of the individual and minimal government presence vs. the State as the primary societal manager. What hasn’t helped is that the Left has progressively [sic] sharpened the political terminology whereby conservatives are now regarded as absolutely evil (Bush/Romney/Trump = Hitler). (As I’ve said before, the irony is that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, in terms of political action — never mind just philosophy — are both far closer to Hitler’s statism than any prominent Republican has ever been. But the Left is impervious to irony: Freedom is Slavery, remember?)
Speaking personally, there is absolutely no way I could ever date a liberal woman because frankly, I have always been a man who enjoys to talk to my dates and show them respect (I know, how old-fashioned of me); but at some point, the conversations about neo-Impressionist art or Romantic Classical music would tail off and some kind of social discussion would begin… and soon grind to a halt amidst name-calling and invective. You see, I can quite accommodate a woman’s opinion that Liszt is a better composer than Chopin (no, but never mind), whereas an opinion that government should enforce “hate speech” regulation is not just flawed but irretrievably wrong, and I can’t even begin to accommodate that. And if we get into a discussion of the welfare state and socialized medical care… well, it’s over.
The title of this piece is an Afrikaans expression for which the English idiom is “Birds of a feather flock together” — but the Afrikaans (lit. “type seeks the same type”) is a much stronger sentiment without the avian allusion. And “opposites attract” only works with magnets, by the way; for humans, opposites may initially attract — but eventually, repulsion sets in.
Choose your partners carefully.