I am with her.
He is not.
I think Trump is horrifying.
He thinks Trump is “the lesser of two evils.”
My boyfriend, “Alex,” is incredible in so many ways. He is my best friend, he is more brilliant than he can even recognize, he is kind, he is handsome, he smells good and has nice hair. He’s also an anarchist.
For those of you unfamiliar with the idea of anarchy, let me give you a quick catch-up: true anarchists believe society would be better off without any formal governmental institutions––the world could successfully run if people self-governed. Many anarchists are, for this reason, against voting. It also is important for me to note that Alex is Australian, so he isn’t voting in this election anyway. But like I mentioned before, he’s brilliant, so he spends much of his time reading about American politics and anarchist philosophy. This has lead to many an intense political discussion between the two of us, some tears (mostly on my part) and a lot of confusion.
“HOW CAN YOU BE SO NAIVE?!” I ask him every time he tells me something I don’t agree with.
“HOW COULD YOU PROMOTE SUCH EVIL IN THE WORLD?!” He asks me every time I post something about Hillary online.
It has been one of the biggest tests of patience either of us have ever encountered. I surround myself with similarly-minded people and he does as well, but it has been so important for me to remember that anarchists are alienated from a significant part of society––when I tell my friends about Alex’s ideas, they think he’s nuts. I don’t think he’s crazy. I’ve listened to him discuss how he came to hold this particular set of beliefs and I’ve done my research into what anarchy really means (it does NOT mean he wants to see the world go up in flames, like many people believe anarchy means. This isn’t “The Purge.”) He truly believes a world free of government would have the most potential for protecting the world from violence. I can respect that, but I can also strongly disagree with that.
I don’t need to agree with him 100% of the time to respect the person he is. This is not someone who is flimsy in his beliefs and ideas––there probably won’t be any changing his mind, although I can try to expand his worldview and he can do the same for me. I appreciate who he is as a partner, I understand his reasons behind his beliefs (most of the time), and I respect that he thinks he is doing the best he can to combat the evil he sees in the world.
In the end, I suppose I will always be working to understand why he believes what he believes. I suppose this is a good lesson for all of us to remember during such a politically divisive time: you are likely to find people you love and care about who do not align with your beliefs in every way you would wish for them to. That doesn't mean you can't speak to them or you have to lose respect for them––Alex is still the same person I fell for when I met him, I am just learning more things about what makes him who he is. I still admire him and look up to him and have every intention of making him feel like his opinions are as worthy and important as mine.