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How to Handle Political Haters

"Dear Aunt Traci,

This election is bringing out the worst in people! I have friends in real life, and on social media, who are saying and posting things that are shockingly offensive. I believe strongly that we should embrace diversity, and that includes political opinion. But, with some people, if you try to politely disagree with them, it becomes this huge fight. How can I express my dissenting view without triggering being flamed?


Believer in Freedom of Speech"

Dear Believer,

You are so right! Every day, I am astounded at the things coming out of the mouths (and fingers) of people I used to respect. Regardless of which candidate you support, people on both sides are getting downright nasty.

Here's my take. Like you, I embrace diversity of opinion. I'll never unfriend someone or end a relationship just because they have different views than I do on any subject. It's not the difference of opinion that matters; it's the respect with which that opinion is shared. I have many, many friends who disagree with me on politics, religion, child rearing, even my dietary choice to be vegan. But, if they want to be in my life, they are respectful in their dissent.

I give people a few chances, but if they consistently spew hateful things, go on personal attacks, or refuse to engage me respectfully, they're gone. Or, if it's not someone I can kick out of my life, I avoid them as much as possible. As that old video said, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

The people in your external life are a reflection of your inner mindset. Surround yourself with the kinds of people you want to be like, and the others will fall away.

“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”

Michelle Obama

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