They shouldn't be allowed to have orgasms on principle
December 6, 2019 1:31 PM   Subscribe

The Real Reason People Won't Date Across The Political Divide ‘The people who say ‘it’s just politics’ are the people for whom bigotry poses no real risk to their jobs, relationships and lives.’ This was posted today at Miss Cellania , an excellent mix of fun and serious.
posted by twentyfeetof tacos (143 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
I could probably date with someone who disagreed with me on taxation policy, or similar issues that we'll be debating until the heat death of the universe.

I could never date someone who doesn't see certain groups of people as human. This is a key difference, and right now the GOP is the part of "anyone who isn't white and cisgender male is less than human."
posted by SansPoint at 1:46 PM on December 6, 2019 [136 favorites]


I could never date someone who doesn't see certain groups of people as human. This is a key difference, and right now the GOP is the part of "anyone who isn't white and cisgender male is less than human."

This. I can have a polite disagreement on who sucks more, the Yankees or the Red Sox, but if someone has an opinion about resegregating MLB we just come from wholly incompatible values.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:50 PM on December 6, 2019 [39 favorites]


Is there data on the central thesis (that couples with different political views tend to be from more privileged backgrounds)? I'd be very interested to see some kind of numbers on that.
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 1:51 PM on December 6, 2019 [7 favorites]


George, a 29-year-old Bernie Sanders voter who found out after a few months that his girlfriend voted for Trump,

As I'm getting older (in my early 30s), I'm realizing that I'm slowly getting out of touch with many Americans' lives but I can't conceive of a relationship was anything more emotionally investing than casual hookups or rec sports teammates , if he didn't learn until a few months(!) in the 'relationship' that his girlfriend had voted for Trump.
posted by fizzix at 1:52 PM on December 6, 2019 [57 favorites]


In other words, the “couple on the political divide” most cherished by the media is comprised of two wealthy, non-marginalized people who treat politics like an allegiance to a certain sports team...

Of course the media cherishes people who treat politics that way, because the media treats politics that way.
posted by mstokes650 at 1:53 PM on December 6, 2019 [108 favorites]


I could never date someone who doesn't see certain groups of people as human.

This is not only an important principle in terms of being a good citizen of the world who doesn't support bigotry, but is also self-preservationist. If you begin dating someone who thinks they can justify treating other people with abuse or discrimination, it is extremely likely that someday they may decide to class *you* with those who don't matter, and treat you accordingly. You know that old chestnut about paying attention to how your dinner date treats the waitstaff, because that's how they're going to treat you in four months' time? It's all of a piece with that.
posted by orange swan at 1:59 PM on December 6, 2019 [73 favorites]


I could probably date with someone who disagreed with me on taxation policy, or similar issues that we'll be debating until the heat death of the universe.

I find this strange.

Taxation, the distribution of those taxes and benefits, and the economic system underpinning all of this are massive determinants for how marginalized people thrive and suffer. That is a big part of the system that is behind systemic oppression.

For example, it's not the alt-right that drives the majority of material harm to people of color in this country. It's systemic white supremacy in close concert with capitalism (and taxation policy).
posted by Ouverture at 1:59 PM on December 6, 2019 [39 favorites]


The article points this out nicely:
Not that those young people care. “I don’t date anyone who isn’t a dirty commie because politics don’t end at elections and debates, they encompass everything in society including human rights and basic moral values,” says Lace, a 24-year-old from New York, whose view was representative of almost all my sources. “Voting conservative ends with the diabetic patient dying from rationing insulin because government funding for Medicaid was cut again by the conservative majority.” She says she could never date someone “who sees disabled people as unworthy of living or immigrants as less human, and supporting certain political positions means endorsing these fucked-up ways of thinking.”

“I’m a queer, disabled woman of color, so dating someone right wing or even centrist might mean dating someone who genuinely didn’t believe in my right to personhood,” Micha, a 25-year-old Londoner, says. Eliza, an artist in her 30s from Seattle, concurs: “Literally 99 percent of my friends are out trans people, and I’m obligated to protect them from people who wish them ill. That extends to not bringing people into my friends’ lives and social circles who represent an immediate threat to them.”
posted by Ouverture at 2:03 PM on December 6, 2019 [67 favorites]


The bias in friendly profiles of upper-middle-class white people might be a specific instance of the general bias in who gets chosen for puff-piece profiles, as a result of biases in who gets chosen to be journalists and who they know socially.
posted by clawsoon at 2:11 PM on December 6, 2019 [14 favorites]


he didn't learn until a few months(!) in the 'relationship' that his girlfriend had voted for Trump.

Right?? I have never been on a first date - hell, first couple of days of text messages prior to a first date - where this question has not been asked and answered to my satisfaction. The one time I went on a blind date with a guy who said, as the bread was brought over to our table, that "Some people tend to get a bit hysterical about Trump, I am not among those." Reader, I walked away from that delicious-looking bread, and I was *hungry*.

It's hella inappropriate to talk politics in the workplace but somehow, somehow, I have sneakily gathered a very excellent idea who all voted for Trump in my office. When it's a matter of survival, you find out.

That guy was not in a relationship.

I find this strange. Taxation, the distribution of those taxes and benefits, and the economic system underpinning all of this are massive determinants for how marginalized people thrive and suffer. That is a big part of the system that is behind systemic oppression.

While it's true that tax policy is one of the factors underpinning systemic oppression, there is room for disagreement on the nuances of tax policy because economics is not hard science and some questions regarding what works best in enacting fair economic policy are not, in fact, settled. Consider for instance the question of whether enacting UBI will get more people more sustainably out of poverty, vs. funneling the money that would otherwise go into funding a UBI into massive public works and infrastructure projects. Of course, when it's super blunt differences like "Taxation is theft" or whatever, you absolutely have a point.
posted by MiraK at 2:15 PM on December 6, 2019 [59 favorites]


Also profiling those people helps you attract the ad market that targets them, which is much more lucrative and Hugh-status. That’s a big part of my almost all publicans now are trying to capture and cater to the same affluent demographic.
posted by The Whelk at 2:16 PM on December 6, 2019 [7 favorites]


Leaving all else aside, my values are important to me. They're literally things I think about every day and try to apply to virtually every aspect of my life, even the seemingly small ("I want to support this movie by this queer director", "I don't want to eat at this restaurant because I've heard that they're racist toward staff", "I am going to take my old clothes to the free shelf and not the Salvation Army because SA is homophobic", etc etc) There is nothing else in my life that I think about all the time and really care about that I would not expect to share with a partner. I read a lot, so I pretty much only want to date people who like to talk about books, for instance - and that's lightweight compared to actual moral issues like immigration or prisons.

And what's more, I want a partner where we help each other be our best selves. I don't want a partner where I have to shut down the things I care about most around them, a partner who makes me less and pushes against my intellectual and moral growth. Someone who doesn't share my values isn't going to have that kind of relationship, no matter how they treat me in other ways.

Most of the people who are all "ooooh why not date a Republican then, snowflake" would never challenge, eg, a fundamentalist Christian to date a Muslim, or a rich person to date someone who works at Starbucks.
posted by Frowner at 2:47 PM on December 6, 2019 [78 favorites]


Of the many insufferable plots on The Good Wife, the one I hated the most was Good Liberal Diane falling head over heels for the Republican ballistics expert guy, because let's not let a little thing like the NRA get in the way of true love.
posted by Beardman at 3:00 PM on December 6, 2019 [16 favorites]


I mean, what do you love in someone if not who they are? There are lots of people I find physically attractive. There are lots of people who are smart. I don't love all those people interchangeably with their personalities and values as some kind of weird frosting.
posted by Frowner at 3:09 PM on December 6, 2019 [48 favorites]


All those things that Frowner lists are why I don't even really have friends "across the political divide" anymore, much less would contemplate a partner.

Obviously, none of us are perfect or without things we shrug off when maybe we shouldn't. But, basically, I want to share my life with the people who are not simply sharing my principles but who are also helping me become better engaged in what's necessary to make the world a better place.

Someone who thinks it's okay to elect a racist/rapist who is the puppet of a foreign government is not going to do that.
posted by crush at 3:10 PM on December 6, 2019 [29 favorites]


I think ideally politics is a way of executing policies, which is a way of achieving goals, which are important because of values. And I think that underlying values are what is important in a relationship. There are at least three broadly coherent ways I can see people establishing a long term relationship across the political divide.

1). They aren't actually very political. There are a lot of people who don't vote, and who don't care, and/or who don't talk about politics or political stuff. My wife and I disagree vehemently on whether you should put raisins in cinnamon buns, but it didn't come up until we'd been dating for years and as long as we're on a low-carb diet and not running a bakery, it's not going to affect our relationship. But in the weeks leading up to the recent federal election, we talked about who were planning on voting for on a pretty regular basis. The Sanders voter who didn't find out his girlfriend voted for Trump until after a few months must not have talked politics very often.

2). They view politics as a team sport. This is the classic media view; it's no surprise that the classic R/D relationship was Carville and Matalin; they were both strategists, the unique breed of political animal who is only interested in policy as much as it affected the ballot box. They may as well have been ad execs for Nike and Adidas or Coke and Pepsi. And it's maybe unsurprising that the people who view politics as a team sport are either those who aren't affected by it (because of their privilege) or who just don't notice the effect (perhaps the "take your government hands off my Medicare" low-information folks.)

3). They have very specific, single-issue views. A progressive who is a PETA member hyperfocused on animal rights could plausibly find happiness with a conservative who views politics entirely through an anti-abortion lens, for instance, as long as they never move on to discussing other topics.

I think there used to be room for general moderates who shared the same basic values but differed somewhat on priorities or goals and were juuuust on the other side of any given policy from each other. Carbon taxes reduce greenhouse gas emissions but are also economically regressive, and two honest people could be opposed to both climate change and inequality but disagree on which is more important. (Pro tip: If you combine a carbon tax with a small means-based rebate or a large flat rebate, it's no longer regressive.) I think the media largely still thinks this exists.

The thing that has increasingly happened, though, is that conservatives - especially the Republicans -- have adopted as their policy "the opposite of what the Democrats want, updated daily". As Brad DeLong put it, Obama came into office with Mitt Romney's health care policy, John McCain's climate policy and George H.W. Bush's foreign policy, and was lockstep opposed by the Republicans. In an environment like that, where policy isn't about accomplishing goals or even expressing values, I don't know how you can have a relationship across the divide, where one side of the divide is a chasm of nihilism whose only coherent, lasting value is opposing the other side.

The "rolling coal" folks are maybe the ideal example. Like, everybody used to believe that pollution was bad; some people thought that a certain level of pollution was acceptable because of the economic benefits, or because they didn't want to change the way they lived, or because they didn't like government interference. I don't think those are good arguments necessarily, but at least they're coherent. The "rolling coal" folks are actually expressing their support of pollution; they're going out of their way to cause it, entirely because it pisses liberals off.

I can understand two people having a relationship where they share value A and value B but one thinks A is more important and the other thinks B is more important. I can even understand two people sharing A and thinking it's important, and disagreeing on B but not thinking it's as important. But how do you have a long term relationship with someone whose guiding political value is "fuck you"?
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:28 PM on December 6, 2019 [107 favorites]


Of the many insufferable plots on The Good Wife, the one I hated the most was Good Liberal Diane falling head over heels for the Republican ballistics expert guy, because let's not let a little thing like the NRA get in the way of true love.

Oooh, I was just thinking about Gary Cole's Kurt McVeigh character the other night, when I composed this FanFare comment for an episode of Six Feet Under. Like Claire's boyfriend Ted on Six Feet Under, or token Republican lawyer Ainsley Hayes on The West Wing, the Kurt McVeigh character on The Good Wife is supposedly an example of a reasonable, intelligent, informed, principled person who supports the Republicans for reasons that are supposedly cogent and are never effectively challenged by the liberal characters (the typical response seems to be "awed into silence", eyeball roll), although honestly their arguments are actually sophistry and I would have no trouble countering with, say, facts that prove that whatever good results they claim the Republicans are creating with their policies/behaviour are not actually happening.

It's such both-sides bullshit, and I wish liberal writers wouldn't use this "Good Republican" trope. It would be better to create characters more like actual Republican supporters, who at this point all have some sort of issue at play (i.e., lack of empathy, lack of capacity for abstract rational thought, profound ignorance, mental health issues, etc.) that is keeping them from seeing the political scene as it is.
posted by orange swan at 3:32 PM on December 6, 2019 [22 favorites]


(The other problem with the Good Moderate Republican trope is that they don’t really exist, the large bulk them fled in the last few years to form the conservative wing of the democrats or have become a political or culturally republican. )
posted by The Whelk at 3:49 PM on December 6, 2019 [18 favorites]


The meaningful question here: does Unilever sell razors to Republicans?
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:01 PM on December 6, 2019


I can't conceive of a relationship was anything more emotionally investing than casual hookups or rec sports teammates , if he didn't learn until a few months(!) in the 'relationship' that his girlfriend had voted for Trump.

I have been married to my wife for 7 presidential elections and numerous local elections, not to mention ballot initiatives and the like.
I could not tell the she voted in any of them.
I could hazard a guess on most but to us, a secret ballot is just that, it's between you and election board.
posted by madajb at 4:11 PM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


But you can probably guess, right? And if she voted differently than your guess, wouldn't that (presumably) be in conflict with your previous conversations?

Or, were she revealed to vote opposite your expectations, would that also be totally unremarked on?
posted by sagc at 4:13 PM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


Another reason why people may be uninterested in discussing politics in a relationship is if they feel they are in or grew up in an environment where they might be hurt for expressing their political views. I've known people who grew up in "you're this or I disown you" kinds of households and after a decade or so of reflexively keeping their mouths shut it's not going to be easy or comfortable to change the habit. They're seriously smart and have good hearts but if politics comes up in conversation you can feel them psychologically sliding down in their chairs.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:22 PM on December 6, 2019 [13 favorites]


As someone who's at least as far left on most issues as any of the Democratic presidential candidates, and who's currently dating a Trump supporter, I find the article and this thread disheartening. It seems like most of my fellow progressives can no longer even imagine that a person who disagrees with them might be actuated by something other than evil. I think the person I'm dating is wildly wrong on just about everything, but it isn't because she doesn't see certain people as human etc. -- it's because she's both underinformed and misinformed. That's unfortunate, but to me, it doesn't mean someone deserves to be written off as a fascist.

Granted, as a straight white cis male I'm not marginalized in the ways that many of the people quoted in the article are. But as a low-income Jewish immigrant I have been and am being harmed in real ways by Trump and by Republican policies. I don't extend that to seeing every Trump voter as a willing agent of that harm, now partly because I have the example of my SO who I know as a kind, benevolent person who's no more fascist or racist than I am. (She's Asian, FWIW, so neither of us fits the article's profile of couples on the political divide.) I might think, to put it uncharitably, that her brain has been infected by some kind of weird virus, but to me that in itself isn't a reason to refuse to date someone on principle.

It's totally understandable to not date across the divide because you just don't want to deal with constant political arguments, or because you suspect the difference in views might be a part of other incompatibilities that would make the relationship unlikely to last, but the "this dick isn't for fascists" attitude is something else. I think it belies our vaunted progressive capacity for empathy and seeing through others' eyes, and yes, definitely contributes to polarization (which isn't the same as being the sole cause of polarization). It's also very counterproductive as a political strategy.

Btw I wonder if the reason George's girlfriend kept her politics a secret for several months is that she was afraid he'd break up with her if he knew. My SO did confide in me on our first date that she was "thinking of voting for Trump", but only with great trepidation and after a couple of drinks. I didn't respond by walking away, and I'm glad I didn't because I've learned things I wouldn't have otherwise.
posted by zeri at 4:29 PM on December 6, 2019 [15 favorites]


It's such both-sides bullshit, and I wish liberal writers wouldn't use this "Good Republican" trope.

The "good Republican" trope, as well as the "let's all date regardless of politics" narrative, are part of an entire intellectual infrastructure that exists for the primary purpose of allowing scummy rich conservatives to continue to feel good about themselves. They make sure that their owned newspapers, tv networks and online properties don't ever unequivocally call them out on their casual classism, racism, genderism and misogyny. They don't think they should bear any consequences, political, financial -- not even mild social disapproval. It's their God and trust-fund given right to fuck (over) whomever they wish, guilt-free, which is why so many people on "both sides" of the rich asshole divide turned a blind eye to Jeffrey Epstein.
posted by xigxag at 4:31 PM on December 6, 2019 [22 favorites]


I’m not dating, so presumably this doesn’t apply to me. When I met my wife I made it clear to her that I am not the boss of her political viewpoint and that while I have strong opinions, I certainly do not expect her to share them.

I rant left all the time. I am strongly of the opinion that the Cuban revolution made Cuba a better place. My wife’s family fled the revolution there. Sometimes I can see how uncomfortable she is when I get wound up. I am pretty sure she does not see the revolution there the same way I do, but instead through a lens of loss and familial insecurity.

I can imagine needing ideological cohesion in a relationship, but it’s not a thing I have ever experienced or sought, exactly. I suppose if she had been a big GOP booster when we met, we would not have pursued it. I value hearing her differentiated perspectives, especially with regard to my gung-ho leftism. I hope my enthusiasm for my political viewpoint is of value to her as well. It may not be.
posted by mwhybark at 4:31 PM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


When I was last dating, I wasn't asking who people voted for. I was asking (or reading their OK Cupid profile responses about) whether, if I got pregnant, they'd help pay for an abortion. Whether, if I got raped, they'd be there to support me instead of blaming me. And, if I thought the answer was no, I left.

Once, at the very beginning of a first date, he asked what I'd been up to the day before - I said I was at a protest against the Kavanaugh nomination, and he said "Do you ever think sometimes that the Me Too movement has gone too far?" and when I said ... no ... his response was "But we could have consensual sex and you could regret it and tell people I raped you, and they'd all believe you and I'd be in jail." With that as a foundation, there's nowhere for a relationship to go.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:35 PM on December 6, 2019 [85 favorites]


But you can probably guess, right?

I am confident she did not vote for Trump but I wouldn't bet on whether she voted for Bernie or Hillary.

But presidential elections are pretty easy.
I couldn't hazard a guess on how she voted on the last school bond vote, for example.

For us, politics just isn't something that is a big topic.
I tend more conservative, she tends more liberal but it has never been a major source of conflict.
posted by madajb at 4:35 PM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


I could no sooner date/marry a Republican than I could shove my face into a blender and pretend it was just a "passionate" expression that was above the fray.

To be a Republican in 2020 is AT BEST admitting you care about money above anyone or anything else and at worst that you are 100 percent okay with rape, racism, genocide, and treason at the highest levels of government.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:36 PM on December 6, 2019 [54 favorites]


I can't imagine being partnered with somebody who agrees with me 100% on politics...or anything else, for that matter. Part of the fun I have from being engaged with politics (or any other subject) is that you have an opportunity to bounce ideas back and forth, and being open to hearing what somebody else says, even if i disagree with it, is a big part of that. If there's no chance of anybody changing their mind or having a different opinion, then I feel like there's no point in talking at all. In some ways, I don't see how you could have two folks in a relationship who are 100% in lockstep on politics without there being some sort of control issue at play.

That doesn't mean that a Bernie person MUST date a Trump person or anything like that, but writing people out of humanity for having different politics from you is something I find very distasteful - it's exactly the sort of thing that I associate with the Republicans and conservatives in my life, and it's something that I've been very sad to see become more prominent in general, but especially among left-of-center types.
posted by factory123 at 4:52 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


James Carville and Mary Matalin proved that people with opposing views can be happily long-term married. Of course they share an overriding belief that together, they both should stay powerful and influential in their circle regardless of which side is in control.
posted by zaixfeep at 4:56 PM on December 6, 2019 [14 favorites]


I could never date someone who doesn't see certain groups of people as human. This is a key difference, and right now the GOP is the part of "anyone who isn't white and cisgender male is less than human."
posted by SansPoint


It's worse than that. Lewis Lapham, in his movie The American Ruling Class, posits that our elites view only people with a regular annual income of at least $500k as "fully human" (even before race/gender/LGBTQ/etc. is considered). That explains lot to me.
posted by zaixfeep at 5:04 PM on December 6, 2019 [23 favorites]


the "this dick isn't for fascists" attitude is something else. I think it belies our vaunted progressive capacity for empathy

Every politician holds some objectionable positions. I understand that someone might vote for an imperfect candidate because the other choice was incomparably worse. But if someone whose opinion I highly valued was thoughtfully considering to vote for Trump over any one of the front running Democrats, their reasons better be damned good for there to be any chance of their remaining someone whose opinion I highly valued.

but writing people out of humanity for having different politics from you is something I find very distasteful

Y'all keep saying this like we're talking about people with a different favorite coffeehouse. We're talking about people who apparently have no real objection to concentration camps run by the USA, who don't give a shit about the rights of gay and trans people, who don't bat an eye as environmental protections are being eroded on a daily basis, who are cool with having a white supremacist president appointing a slew of theocratic judges to the federal bench.
posted by xigxag at 5:10 PM on December 6, 2019 [101 favorites]


I don't see how you could have two folks in a relationship who are 100% in lockstep on politics without there being some sort of control issue at play.

writing people out of humanity for having different politics from you is something I find very distasteful


These are strawmen arguments. No one in this thread expects 100% agreement on all political issues with someone they are dating, or is "writing people out of humanity" for having different politics.

We're saying we can't be romantically involved with someone with whom we disagree on fundamental issues, such as whether Trump should remain in office when he's imprisoned over 70,000 children in concentration camps, where they are sleeping on concrete, getting head lice, drinking out toilets, etc. People who still support Trump at this point are still human beings, but they are not people I care to be friendly with, let alone get naked with.
posted by orange swan at 5:11 PM on December 6, 2019 [90 favorites]


I would never date anyone who would vote for me.
posted by zaixfeep at 5:14 PM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


James Carville and Mary Matalin proved that people with opposing views can be happily long-term married.

And now in 2019 we have Kellyanne and George Conway. Whether they are married happily or will be long-term is unknown to me. (Actually I saw someone on Twitter claim that their dueling spouses bit is an act of some sort... Anyone know anything about that?)

the "this dick isn't for fascists" attitude is something else. I think it belies our vaunted progressive capacity for empathy

So... progressive empathy requires us to consider fucking literal fascists? Like, actual Nazis? I'm not sure about that.

Yeah, there sure is a lot of judgement for people who don't want to date someone for their politics. If you told anyone that you didn't want to date someone because they chew with their mouth open or hate cats or drink too much, they'd say "Yeah sure, I get it." But decline to date someone who supports white supremacy and suddenly you're close-minded.
posted by ejs at 5:16 PM on December 6, 2019 [32 favorites]


writing people out of humanity for having different politics from you is something I find very distasteful

Not wanting to date someone who holds opposite political beliefs is nowhere near "writing [them] out of humanity". Sweet Christ almighty.
posted by palomar at 5:16 PM on December 6, 2019 [52 favorites]


Like, seriously. As long as I get to choose who I fuck, I'm ALWAYS going to choose someone who holds the same basic fundamental beliefs as me. If that's not how you roll, good for you! Fuck whomever you choose! But do stow the breathless handwringing about how my personal choices are somehow unfair, or cruel, or punitive.
posted by palomar at 5:19 PM on December 6, 2019 [51 favorites]


And now in 2019 we have Kellyanne and George Conway. Whether they are married happily or will be long-term is unknown to me. (Actually I saw someone on Twitter claim that their dueling spouses bit is an act of some sort... Anyone know anything about that?)

George Conway and Kellyanne Conway have the same politics. They just disagree with the method. George feels you need to stab someone stealthily in the back not in the front with a giant smile on your face giving the game away.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:19 PM on December 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


I wonder if the answer is as obvious as privilege. Seems to me like the people saying they are ... "tolerant"... of their partner's differing politics are... ya know... straight white men. People for whom politics IS theoretical rather than personal. Meanwhile the rest of us are like, are you going to rape me if I date you and are you going to shame me for having an abortion and do you think people of my race are less than human, etc.
posted by MiraK at 5:20 PM on December 6, 2019 [55 favorites]


So... progressive empathy requires us to consider fucking literal fascists? Like, actual Nazis? I'm not sure about that.

Agreed. Tolerance is a peace treaty not a suicide pact. You're explicitly supposed to be intolerant of those who are intolerant of others and those who are unable to peacefully live side by side with all other peoples.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:20 PM on December 6, 2019 [33 favorites]


As a progressive liberal, I too demand to be in a loving relationship with people who will not love me back
posted by Merus at 5:20 PM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


I find the whole idea of dating people across the political aisle confusing.

I think it must only be possible if, and I don't know how to make this not seem insulting, you're just not thinking about much around you at all. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

Sydney has been a smoke haze for the last couple of weeks, face masks and asthma medication levels in a lot of places. Would we never discuss how that happened? Whether there might be policies which have resulted in this?

Do such pairings never consume the news or any media together? I struggle to find an article that doesn't put forward a political argument. Seemingly "apolitical" stuff is often even worse, because the author may be completely unaware of the mud they're wading into and the structures they're upholding.

Tipping is always a thing in the US right? How would you have a meal together without service worker's pay coming up? Without taking some position?

Of course we don't have to agree on everything. In fact, I don't know that I have any comrades, let alone friends, with whom I'm 100% in line, which is good, we all argue and help refine each other's arguments.

But I think twice about romance with people who are too keen on the Labor party here, let alone anyone who'd think of voting for the Liberals. Libs want most of us dead or enslaved. There's no compromise with that.
posted by Acid Communist at 5:21 PM on December 6, 2019 [15 favorites]


I can very easily imagine that someone who disagrees with me is motivated by something other than evil.

However, this administration is carrying out actions which I believe to be evil, and which harm people I care about.

Not giving enough of a shit to fight evil? Sitting on the sidelines? Yup, that’s a deal-breaker.
posted by FallibleHuman at 5:21 PM on December 6, 2019 [26 favorites]


I don't want to spend a single second listening to bullshit talking points I could hear if I turned on Fox News. That's what's required these days to be a conservative.

Like others here, I think it would be a massive waste of time. Also, talk about taking someone from being hot to not in a millisecond.
posted by atchafalaya at 5:22 PM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


So... progressive empathy requires us to consider fucking literal fascists? Like, actual Nazis? I'm not sure about that.

"Honey, you're one of the good ones."
"So are you, darling."
posted by zaixfeep at 5:22 PM on December 6, 2019 [11 favorites]


"Honey, you're one of the good ones."

Oof. Too true. I personally went years telling myself that yeah, my husband sexually assaulted me, but he didn't mean to, he's one of the good rapists.
posted by MiraK at 5:25 PM on December 6, 2019 [19 favorites]


I can barely tolerate being friends of friends on Facebook with some people in the American right. I can't imagine dating them.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:28 PM on December 6, 2019 [22 favorites]


Not wanting to date someone who holds opposite political beliefs is nowhere near "writing [them] out of humanity". Sweet Christ almighty.

I quite agree. In much the same way, being a centrist in UK politics does not involve ‘genuinely not believing in queer, disabled women of color’s right to personhood’, contra Micha from London. Are people embarrassed to say that they would simply prefer to date within a narrow spectrum of political views?
posted by inire at 5:31 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Huh, that's not what Micha from London is quoted as saying in the article I read:
“I’m a queer, disabled woman of color, so dating someone right wing or even centrist might mean dating someone who genuinely didn’t believe in my right to personhood,” Micha, a 25-year-old Londoner, says.
FULL context makes a difference, no?
posted by palomar at 5:34 PM on December 6, 2019 [21 favorites]


The article continues:
Many also say they don’t want to endlessly debate someone whose political views they find boring and regressive. “I want a partner who makes me feel like I’m learning, growing, discovering and changing,” says Micha, “someone who helps me go further and actually develops my politics.”
I agree with Micha, frankly. Endlessly debating someone, enduring the gotchas and the information divorced from its context to make a spurious point... that's material for one mediocre date at most.
posted by palomar at 5:39 PM on December 6, 2019 [21 favorites]


I'm extremely awful at relationships. I spent two months involved with a really beautiful, exciting woman who I quickly realized had very serious emotional problems. But, she was really hot. When I woke up one morning and found her naked on my couch, reading the Drudge Report on her phone, I wanted to believe maybe this was just some ironic millennial hipster thing. But she's not ironic. Or a hipster. She's a republican. And I sort of knew that but didn't really want to know it, because most of the time we were having a lot of fun, as long as we didn't talk about it too much.

I think people with wildly opposing personalities can often be very attracted to each other. Once the debate starts, though, it's over. I mean, there were other reasons why we didn't stay together. But the politics kind of underscored how incompatible we were as people.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:43 PM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


But the real issue here is that at least in the US (and in the UK as well, I think, and maybe Australia) being right-wing is, consciously or unconsciously, treated as being "normal". This is why "you snowflakes won't date people with other views" is pretty much never aimed at the right - what's really being said is "you snowflakes have stupid, frivolous ideas that keep you from being sexually accessible to 'real' people with 'normal' politics".

And make no mistake, a big part of this is about sexual access to women - when you read women being all "date a Republican", they're usually cool girls acting as social enforcers for men, and most of the time it's men saying this anyway.

I, an androgynous person in my forties, am no longer of sexual interest to straight men. I never get asked why I won't date a conservative, because this isn't really some kind of generalized handwringing about why we can't all get along. It is, as usual, about the anger felt by some white men when they have less sexual access to women than they feel they deserve.

Crooked Timber had a series of very useful posts recently in which they anatomize the standard insincere arguments we get from the right - I'm oversimplifying the articles a lot, but basically, when the right advances sham-universal arguments in bad faith with a view to muddying the waters. So, for instance, the right is not really interested in whether I date a Republican or whether the Mike Pences of the world can be moved to consider dating, eg, working class trans women. (Poor women! That would be awful and should never happen.)

The "date a Republican for civility" move isn't really about civility; it's just a way to avoid saying "right wing politics are the real ones and your 'politics' should not count, so you should stop caring about them".
posted by Frowner at 5:45 PM on December 6, 2019 [95 favorites]


If I learned anything from the Illuminatus! Trilogy it was, "Don't sleep with anyone who doesn't share your belief system."
posted by sneebler at 6:00 PM on December 6, 2019 [11 favorites]


At the end of the day, if you support politicians that are committing racist, misogynist, fascist acts and furthering racists, misogynist, fascist policies, you are committing a racist, misogynist, fascist act. It is completely irrelevant what’s ’in your heart’ or who you believe you are ‘at your core’.

People who routinely and persistently commit racist, misogynist, fascist acts are, in the common parlance, racists, misogynists, and fascists. And you shouldn’t fucking date them. You can if you want, I suppose, but you have to ask yourself what you’re supporting.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:01 PM on December 6, 2019 [43 favorites]


At the end of the day, if you support politicians that are committing racist, misogynist, fascist acts and furthering racists, misogynist, fascist policies, you are committing a racist, misogynist, fascist act. It is completely irrelevant what’s ’in your heart’ or who you believe you are ‘at your core’.

People who routinely and persistently commit racist, misogynist, fascist acts are, in the common parlance, racists, misogynists, and fascists. And you shouldn’t fucking date them. You can if you want, I suppose, but you have to ask yourself what you’re supporting.


And yet people in the UK keep dating Labour Party supporters. Exclusively, even!
posted by inire at 6:08 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Part of the fun I have from being engaged with politics (or any other subject) is that you have an opportunity to bounce ideas back and forth

Right. 100% Agree. Also would never, ever date a Trump voter. Cannot even be friends with them, have lost friends over this and would do it again.

My husband and I are both very, very left. Like, "when we drink together one of our common discussion topics is what kinds of direct action we'd be getting arrested for if we still lived in the USA" -- that kind of left.

And yet, we "bounce ideas back and forth" and debate all the time, sometimes very passionately, occasionally even to the point of having to apologize for going over a line. It's something we genuinely enjoy, and we can do that because we are basically in lockstep on the basics. During the last election, we had raucous debates about the Clinton campaign -- something that it was safe for us to do, because we both knew that we'd both vote (absentee) for her in the end, whether we were holding our noses or not.

I trust him to care about people, and about justice, and to have a firm grasp on logic and reality. Two side effects of that are that we can debate, and that we are aligned in many ways.

If I'm at a table with a Trump voter, I cannot debate with them, because at least one of the following things must be true:

1. They are heartlessly greedy, and don't care about who isn't them or maybe their immediate family/social circle, nor do they care about the US or the world as a whole. They'll vote for anyone they think might help them "get theirs" and ignore all policies that don't directly, obviously, and immediately impact them. There's nothing to talk about with these people.

2. They are so uninformed or misinformed as to experience a completely different reality than the one everyone else is living in. I cannot debate with this person because we don't agree on the underlying facts. If they seem receptive I will provide information, but let's be real, ignorance at this level is often maintained willfully and it's tiring to throw very simple, verifiable facts at people who reject them.

3. The worst case scenario: They are openly malicious to me, people like me, and people who are unlike them in any way. These people are not safe for me to talk with to start with, and their built-in hostility means that to talk with them at all will be a waste of time and energy with a side of danger. No thank you.

I guess there are also the accelerationists and trolls, but they're just combinations of the above.

I love a spirited debate, but we can't bounce ideas back and forth about what climate change management strategies should get the most funding if we don't agree that climate change is A-real, B-a bad thing, and C-anthropogenic.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 6:12 PM on December 6, 2019 [57 favorites]


How values are expressed politically isn't a one-to-one relationship. My husband and I have the same values, but our political philosophies differ. He's a left anarchist (he votes and votes Dem because he lives in reality), I'm a social democrat. But we 100% agree on the major issues of the day such as "are non-white non-cismales people?" and "are borders a real thing or imaginary bullshit?" and "should there be billionaires?"

I can't really see someone who holds my same values voting for Trump. And someone with whom I do not share fundamental values is not someone I'm interested in building a life with. Sharing a bus with, working with, conversing with, sure, of course. But actually build a life with, raise a child with, be intimate with, be vulnerable both physically and emotionally around? Nope. That's my prerogative. I don't owe anyone access to my body or life.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:22 PM on December 6, 2019 [21 favorites]


"I refuse to join any member that would hate me as a club."
posted by Rhaomi at 6:24 PM on December 6, 2019 [23 favorites]


I refuse to join any club that wants to beat me with a club.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:27 PM on December 6, 2019 [35 favorites]


My wife and I had quizzed each other on our political and religious beliefs long before we actually met in person. Neither of us would have even agreed to meet in person if the other one was a republican; not a chance.
posted by octothorpe at 6:29 PM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


And yet people in the UK keep dating Labour Party supporters.

First past the post really sucks eh? But as it stands, a vote not going to Labour is a vote that could have helped stopped austerity.

Austerity not caring what's in anyone's heart of hearts, and being perfectly fine with being enabled by Lib-Dems, Greens and the like.
posted by Acid Communist at 6:34 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


But as it stands, a vote not going to Labour is a vote that could have helped stopped austerity.

Very true. And yet a vote for Labour is supporting a party that has a really quite disturbing problem with antisemitism. And yet and yet, a vote for not-Labour is in most seats effectively improving the chances of (aka indirectly supporting) the far more racist and also fascist etc. Tories.

All of which is to say that anyone taking the position that you shouldn’t date people who “support politicians that are committing racist, misogynist, fascist acts” is likely to be a) making exceptions, or b) single.
posted by inire at 6:58 PM on December 6, 2019


I can not imagine an intimate (as in emotional & intellectual) relationship without congrous life values. My values inform my politics, my ethics, my behaviour. I don't expect my partner to agree with all my views, especially if his life experiences have left him ignorant to issues that have had a massive impact on mine (we might discuss them politely, if I felt up to the work of diplomatically educating him). But I could not even be friends with someone whose values were polar opposites. I'd be polite to them, but so reserved as to be wearing a mask in their company, because people like that are dangerous to me.
posted by b33j at 6:58 PM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


Very true. And yet a vote for Labour is supporting a party that has a really quite disturbing problem with antisemitism

This is a conversation that really needs its own thread at the very least.
posted by Acid Communist at 7:06 PM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


John Waters famously said, "If you go home with someone and they don't have books, don't fuck them." That's not somehow unfair to non-readers, it doesn't diminish their worth as a person, it doesn't exclude them from humanity. It's just a recognition that there are things that you value more than casual sex, and it's okay to draw a line and say, if you don't care about this thing that I care a lot about, we probably don't have enough in common to fool around or otherwise keep this thing between us going.

If you go home with someone and they don't have progressive values, don't fuck them.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 7:12 PM on December 6, 2019 [20 favorites]


John Waters famously said, "If you go home with someone and they don't have books, don't fuck them." That's not somehow unfair to non-readers, it doesn't diminish their worth as a person, it doesn't exclude them from humanity. It's just a recognition that there are things that you value more than casual sex, and it's okay to draw a line and say, if you don't care about this thing that I care about, we probably don't have enough in common to fool around or otherwise keep this thing between us going.

If you go home with someone and they don't have progressive values, don't fuck them.


The difficulty arises from the difference between your first paragraph (it’s OK not to do this) and your second paragraph (you shouldn’t do this).
posted by inire at 7:16 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


I love that John Waters quote, but I feel like "If you go home with someone and they don't have progressive values, don't fuck them." flips the sentiment around to it's opposite meaning.

Having books indicates intellectual curiosity and openness to ideas. Openness and curiosity stand in opposition to dogmatic conformity to someone's political positions.
posted by factory123 at 7:31 PM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


If I go home with someone and discover that they think I am less 'American' than them because I am brown, or that I should be stripped of my citizenship because my parents were not citizens at the time of my birth,* I sure as hell am not going to fuck them.

* Proposed by the GOP in every Congress since 1991! This shit ain't new.
posted by basalganglia at 7:38 PM on December 6, 2019 [40 favorites]


Having books indicates almost nothing on it's own. The point is to see whether they've got Capital vol 2, Malcolm Steven Gladwell Pinker or Atlas Shrugged in pride of place with a broken spine.
posted by Acid Communist at 7:39 PM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


“There’s a civil war in this country right now. But I try to listen to everybody. I’m against separatism – that’s my main message. I try to understand unfathomable behaviour and talk about people we don’t agree with. That’s why every day I read the Wall Street Journal’s editorials. I want to read how smart people I don’t agree with think.”

John Waters in 2018. Fun interview, he talks about getting along with Andrew Breitbart, too.
posted by factory123 at 7:54 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Fuck whomever you want but if there are two people fucking and one of them is a Nazi, then there are two fucking Nazi.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:10 PM on December 6, 2019 [38 favorites]


Shouldn’t a couple strongly prefer to be well-matched on matters like abortion and gender relations? From the woman side of the fence at least, the personal is inherently political.
posted by Selena777 at 8:23 PM on December 6, 2019 [21 favorites]


writing people out of humanity for having different politics from you is something I find very distasteful

Dating me, thankfully, is not a human right.

I think the person I'm dating is wildly wrong on just about everything, but it isn't because she doesn't see certain people as human etc. -- it's because she's both underinformed and misinformed.

Yeah I GUESS being openly contemptuous of the person you're supposed to love is another option, but why not just... not date people you don't respect
posted by babelfish at 8:35 PM on December 6, 2019 [59 favorites]


Dating me, thankfully, is not a human right.

Fucking thank you. I can have whatever standards I please for the person who is in all likelihood going to insert something of theirs into one of my body cavities. If I don't want to date people who wear blue t-shirts, I can. If I only want to sleep with people who share my most treasured values (one of which is to be informed: I have a masters in teaching social studies, I spent two years and fifteen grand to live this particular value), I don't think that's some unfathomable liberal snowflake boundary.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:41 PM on December 6, 2019 [31 favorites]


I'm as privileged a white guy as you are likely to find, and I can't imagine dating someone who doesn't agree with me on fundamental values about people's humanity and rights. That doesn't mean we need to be in lockstep on every issue, but I just don't see any compromise on LGBTQ rights, on access to reproductive choice, etc. Those are, to me, basic human values, and I'm not going to share my life with someone who doesn't agree about people's humanity.

I have plenty of coworkers who are way on the other end of the political spectrum from me, and we have excellent daily relationships -- but we manage that by tacitly agreeing to not talk about entire ranges of subjects. That's not how I would want to live in a relationship.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:05 PM on December 6, 2019 [18 favorites]


It's strange to me that anyone would think that not dating people with radically different values was either new or peculiarly liberal. After all, Paul the Apostle wrote the following in his second letter to the Corinthians:
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
In my conservative evangelical family growing up, this was not an idle passage.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 9:09 PM on December 6, 2019 [31 favorites]


unacknowledged in all this is the chance to awaken your partner's nascent background politics through your union activism and reminding him both his parents were members of the English Communist Party.
posted by The Whelk at 9:21 PM on December 6, 2019 [22 favorites]


The Whelk, is this some Belle and Sebastian song I have somehow missed?
posted by sjswitzer at 9:42 PM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


sjswitzer: It's the B-Side to "She's Losing It", I think.
posted by SansPoint at 9:44 PM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


I'm lucky. I come from a family of big-time readers. I would leave books open, face-down, to save the page, my father would close them, and I'd be annoyed, and he told me that if I was paying any attention at all I could get right back to where I was. He was correct.

He took me aside, real serious he told me "Read. Read, Stephen. There is so much in reading, in books. Read." That is one of the most important things he ever said to me, one of the things with the most weight. When I thanked him for it, late in his life, he didn't remember it. He didn't remember it. WTF? How could that be?

I remember it, for damn sure.

Maybe I just hallucinated it, and if I did I'm awfully damn glad that I did. I had a lot of bad experiences with hallucinogens, maybe this was payback to me, a gift after all the bad times.

I didn't hallucinate it.

Anyways, go in someones house, look around, see what they're reading. Though maybe today it's different, what with kindles etc. As a matter of fact, I have hardly a book anymore -- Audible. Plus I'll buy them used on Amazon then just leave them somewhere, or, if I like the book, and I think a friend would like it I'd offer it to them.

In any case, talk with someone a little bit, you can read them like a book if you're awake.

~~~~~

I would never, ever date a smoker.

I would never, ever date a heavy drinker. A little bit of wine? A drink with friends? No problem. A drunk? Nope.

I would never, ever date a pot-head. A pull off a joint, a taste off a bong, enjoy the movie more, enjoy the sex more, maybe just relax a bit, an easy smile? No problem. A pot-head? Nope.

I would never, ever date A Serious Christian -- not ever. They're insane, they think some guy lived in a fish for three days or whatever. They really believe that shit. Unreal.

I would never, ever date anyone who is into crystals, waving one around talking of how clean it's energy is. (Um, I think I have to go now.)

I would never, ever date anyone into star signs, and this one took me a few experiences of women who would say "Oh, I don't take it serious, it's just fun to read." Bullshit. They take it serious.

I would never, ever date anyone on any side of any political spectrum if they were obsessed with it, how right their people are, how wrong the other people are. My best friend here in town left his marriage because his wife sat on the couch all day clutching pearls, taking headache powders, facebooking and twitter and god only knows what else.

My friend was interested in a partner.

They used to walk the dogs together, down by the river. They used to have fun. But -- not any more.

I think she got the couch.

Fact is, I'm totally with her -- Trump is a big bag of dogshit. But most politicians are big bags of docshit. Damned if I'm going to spend all of my time -- or any of my time -- moaning about it. I give money where I can, to causes I totally believe in, people I think are trying to bring change, or at least clarity.

~~~~~

I do not have a lot of money, and no prospects of getting into a lot of money. I am certain that has cut me from many peoples "will date" list.

A huge one -- I have this manic depression thing. It's real, and it's not going away any time soon. (Like, never.) Dating one woman -- and she was so lovely, and so sweet -- one night we're laying in the bed of my pickup, we're looking at the stars, without thinking twice I let drop I've got this manic depression thing going on. It was like a knife to her, what she told me later -- she'd never had any bad experience with anyone with manic depression but everyone she knew who had dealt with one of us had bad, bad experience.

Guess how long this one lasted.

I've been accused here of being misogynist, and being that zarq -- one of the finest human beings we ever had on this site, or ever will have -- being that zarq got run out of here being called misogynist, and being that zarq is seventeen times the man I am, I'd have to say that I am, too. So likely I'm cut from dating anyone here, which is fine by me if they thought zarq bad news, that's a pretty good litmus.

While I am not a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a nudist, or into star signs, I absolutely think that there is something going on. I pray, on my knees. I meditate, daily, on good days twice daily. I'm betting that's chased off some people.

I swear like a sailor, it is my native tongue, all of those years on construction sites, starting at 13 plus having a vocabulary even before I set foot on a job-site, learned from my brothers and maternal cousins. I can turn it off, mostly, for a while anyhow, but if you're standing behind me when I get my finger caught in the door probably you'll learn some new words. That's less a problem here in Texas than wherever it is that you are reading this but still ...
posted by dancestoblue at 9:53 PM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


The Whelk, is this some Belle and Sebastian song I have somehow missed?

more reminding them that the songs they play- like John Brown's Body and O Tennbaum are the same melody as Solidarity Forever and The Red Flag
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's wise to date or be friends with someone who enthusiastically supports criminal behavior. That's enough to rule out Trump supporters these days.

We are well beyond it being "just politics."
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:06 PM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


Dancestoblue, I think a key thing is that there's a difference between the default example here of voting for say Trump, active support, and having been misogynist.
We shouldn't ignore it or just move on, but everyone has fallen short in some way.

I think what matters is whether they've taken pride in their misdeeds or striven to do better.
posted by Acid Communist at 10:10 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I have reached across the aisle to compromise. I have dated, and enjoyed relationships with women, who not only have listened to Journey, but own albums by them!
I know to some of you this is small potatoes, to me, however, this was a hard and fast deal breaker. No one who could enjoy this musical pablum, could be worth knowing.
It is with almost no trepidation, that I tell you, I'm not even sure, musically, what my current SO, enjoys. However, I do know she is no Trump supporter, and if she were, we would not be dating. I cannot in good conscience date someone who condone harming people I love. I find that there are some values I can't ignore, to be less lonely, or enjoy sex.
posted by evilDoug at 11:03 PM on December 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


I cannot imagine anything more shallow than dating someone whose views you despise. All you like at that point is how they look. I'm terminally single but would not date the twin of Gillian Anderson if they were a nazi (i.e., republican in the US).

A lot of people, men and women, are satisfied with "cute" as the only criteria in their choice of mates. I guess more power to them, but how fucking miserable would that be?
posted by maxwelton at 11:30 PM on December 6, 2019 [19 favorites]


zeri: I think the person I'm dating is wildly wrong on just about everything, but it isn't because she doesn't see certain people as human etc. -- it's because she's both underinformed and misinformed. . . . I don't [see] every Trump voter as a willing agent of that harm, now partly because I have the example of my SO who I know as a kind, benevolent person who's no more fascist or racist than I am. (She's Asian, FWIW . . . )

It's totally understandable to not date across the divide because you just don't want to deal with constant political arguments, or because you suspect the difference in views might be a part of other incompatibilities that would make the relationship unlikely to last


Actually for many of us who are marginalized on multiple axes, it's a matter of personal safety.(Speaking as a woman of Asian background, who knows plenty of Asian-background people who voted for Trump and his ilk, and I know their reasons.) And of concern for our loved ones who are more marginalized than we are (for me that's trans and LGBQ and disabled folks of color, especially African-American, Latinx, and Indigenous), who were at high risk of being targeted by violent bigots even before Trump's election.

I'm happily married now, but when I was dating, I was willing to talk with romantically interested, politically opposite guys for a few dates. I wanted to see if they were open to incorporating new knowledge from me into their worldviews. If they weren't, then...was I supposed to feel safe about how their views on abortion (for example) would play out in my body if birth control failed?

I hope you can see that for many of us, there's no equivalence between a romantic partner voting for this dictator-wannabe, versus voting for any candidate on the other side. In my ideal book, romantic partners are supposed to be safe havens from a shitty world.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:56 PM on December 6, 2019 [25 favorites]


- what's really being said is "you snowflakes have stupid, frivolous ideas that keep you from being sexually accessible to 'real' people with 'normal' politics".

That’s not anyone here, so maybe not relevant to the people actually in the conversation?

I personally am worried, all the time, about people who won’t date or be friends with people who are politically different from them. I agree people should only fuck who they want for the reasons they want, but I am still worried about it - not for what it is, but for what it signifies - a huge problem of atomization and alienation among people who need to be united IN REJECTING FASCISM. And I think the “Trump supporter or not” is a way of drawing the line so that everyone can feel really righteous in their choice, but that’s not where the problem is coming from. The people quoted in the article talk not just about the right, but add “or centrists”, “or liberals”. It is a constantly moving goalpost and has nothing to do with actual power. I see increasingly tiny fractions of the left atomizing further and further and continuing to do this. I know communists who won’t date or hang out with anarchists and vice versa because “the politics are too different”. I know anarchists who think that different flavors of anarchism is too politically different when /none of us are even kind of close to winning and having it be relevant/. People who are desperately lonely and unhappy about it but are like “welp I need to date/be friends with only this increasingly tiny section of the population who share my incredibly niche view.” The problem isn’t “the left won’t date the right”, the problem is people who draw their lines by “who did you vote for in the primary” or “how do you feel about this very specific environmental group?”

I worry that hanging out only with people who agree with us personally makes us more isolated, and less able to convince people of our views, which leaves them what they already are - marginal.
posted by corb at 12:51 AM on December 7, 2019 [10 favorites]


I would never, ever date A Serious Christian -- not ever. They're insane, they think some guy lived in a fish for three days or whatever. They really believe that shit. Unreal.

Please don't use terms like "serious" when you mean "fundamentalist". There are lots and lots of Christians who do not believe the Bible is to be taken literally in any sense, and neither they nor their faith is any less serious for it. Believing in the literal interpretation of things is what fundamentalist means. Don't start attributing being the "real" Christians to only the crazies.
posted by Dysk at 1:03 AM on December 7, 2019 [19 favorites]


The problem isn’t “the left won’t date the right”, the problem is people who draw their lines by “who did you vote for in the primary” or “how do you feel about this very specific environmental group?”

That’s not anyone here, so maybe not relevant to the people actually in the conversation?
posted by Dysk at 1:10 AM on December 7, 2019 [4 favorites]


The problem isn’t “the left won’t date the right”,

But...that's exactly how the "problem" is traditionally framed.

I mean, if you think extremely passionate activists fracturing off into smaller and smaller social groups is a new or rising phenomenon...you just can't be that familiar with the history of political extremism of any variety. That seems to be a common, if lamentable, side-effect of being that politically committed in the modern age. Monty Python was joking about it when I was in diapers.

But, ultimately, today, you can't unite with a Trump supporter to oppose fascism because support for Trump is support for fascism. It's so obvious that even many people who would prefer to avoid the social disruption implied can't do so.

I find myself extremely comfortable with drawing the line at people who are cool with babies being stolen from their parents and left in cages, without anyone even worrying about how they might be reunited with them. Featherbed + an arctic Feathered Friends duvet comfortable.

Y'all keep saying this like we're talking about people with a different favorite coffeehouse.

I keep thinking of that line from The Third Man, about the best friend who turns out to have been a racketeer who sold diluted penicillin to hospitals, with predictable consequences: "You talk about him as if he had occasional bad manners!"
posted by praemunire at 1:15 AM on December 7, 2019 [37 favorites]


There are lots and lots of Christians who do not believe the Bible is to be taken literally in any sense, and neither they nor their faith is any less serious for it. Believing in the literal interpretation of things is what fundamentalist means. Don't start attributing being the "real" Christians to only the crazies.

Strictly and exclusively literal (allegedly) interpretation might be a hallmark of fundamentalism, belief in Biblical inerrancy might be, but I would wager that a majority of Christians today across all Christian denominations would say that not believing that the son of God was made man some time in the first century AD, was crucified by historical figure Pontius Pilate, died, was buried, and on the third day rose again would disqualify you from being Christian.

I couldn't date a serious Christian, not because they happen to believe that, as outre as it sounds, but because they base their moral system on it. If you take your morality seriously, you need a considerable degree of compatibility in your life partner's. The positions in this case are not necessarily repellent like those of Trump supporters, but they are alien. Serious Christians make major life choices based on what they think God is commanding them to do. I can't be carried along by someone else's belief system like that. Sometimes I think the single event most influential in shaping my life was my parents' decision to go live somewhere in particular they thought God wanted them to live. That was fine and well for them, and of course they got to decide for their kids until we were grown up, but I couldn't let a husband decide that for me based on the discerned will of a god I don't even believe in.

It doesn't do to be militantly dogmatic, of course, but I find it bizarre that anyone would criticize others morally for...actually taking morality seriously. Politics is a very crude, inherently compromised, and distorted means of expressing one's morality, but, yes, U.S. politics today presents us with a stark choice between people who are eager to support evil deeds and revel in a deliberately theatrical cruelty to the vulnerable and people who are not. I don't think it's been this obvious since the Civil War. Babies in cages, sick teenagers left to die on cell floors. If your conscience doesn't revolt at that, you haven't got one, and that...actually does matter!
posted by praemunire at 1:40 AM on December 7, 2019 [12 favorites]


None of those are a dude living in a fish (or a water bound mammal) which is the example that was given. And I am the daughter of a vicar, who taught for years at a Lutheran seminary and has been a village vicar for decades, who does not believe in the literal truth of all the things you mentioned. Whose morality and worldview allow him to accept, love, and support his queer trans daughter and many other queer people in his life, to work on interfaith dialogue and increasing understanding and respect in society for people of minority religions (whereas he works for a state church), cultural or racial minorities, and to fight for equality across all sorts of other axes. And none if that is remarkable in the context of his state church, or the wider faith communities where I am from.

I'm not going to claim that this is the only correct way to be Christian, or that a fundamentalist is less serious in their faith, though. I'd ask you to extend the same understanding that your view of what Christianity means is no more correct or universal either.
posted by Dysk at 1:58 AM on December 7, 2019 [14 favorites]


The problem isn’t “the left won’t date the right”, the problem is people who draw their lines by “who did you vote for in the primary” or “how do you feel about this very specific environmental group?”

That’s not anyone here, so maybe not relevant to the people actually in the conversation?


We can talk about things we see in the world without needing examples thereof right under our noses in the very same thread. I don’t at all mind people at opposite ends of the political spectrum refusing to date each other. I do mind, say, the continuing effort in British left politics to sort people into boxes labelled ‘fervent Corbynite’ and ‘basically a Tory’, the latter containing the entirety of the centre left and centre (actual Tories don’t merit a box). It’s a redefinition of where the political divide between personally acceptable and unacceptable political views lies, and changes in people’s dating decisions are just one symptom of that narrowing.
posted by inire at 2:43 AM on December 7, 2019 [3 favorites]




I've tried dating a radical feminist. Really, it comes down to family values, and the environment you'd like to raise kids in.

For me, I'm committed to the traditional American classical liberal worldview that the system basically works, hard work and contributing to society gets you ahead, that nothing's fundamentally broken about capitalism, and that we should be taking care of those who are in need at the family, community, civic, or maybe even state level. Small government; our family can take care of itself through industriousness and contribution, one earns money through good deeds, one builds wealth through wise decisions, etc.

The radical leftist counter-view is probably something like, "you only believe that because society privileges you as a white cis-male, the truth of the matter is that we live in a world of systematic oppression and neo-colonial ambition divided on race, sex, and sexual orientation lines."

We broke up.
posted by phenylphenol at 7:03 AM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


She's right, tho.
posted by Reyturner at 7:31 AM on December 7, 2019 [122 favorites]


They were completely correct, though. You may not want to acknowledge it or even believe it, but their analysis of your worldview is firmly rooted in objective fact.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 7:33 AM on December 7, 2019 [44 favorites]


For me, I'm committed to the traditional American classical liberal worldview that the system basically works, hard work and contributing to society gets you ahead, that nothing's fundamentally broken about capitalism, and that we should be taking care of those who are in need at the family, community, civic, or maybe even state level. Small government; our family can take care of itself through industriousness and contribution, one earns money through good deeds, one builds wealth through wise decisions, etc.

Yeah, I used to believe that, too. Then I started reading. I discovered there are a ton of people who can’t get ahead through good deeds and hard work because society systematically works against them. I would’ve never figured that out until I exposed myself to more diverse perspectives, because in my family of white protestants the traditional work ethic has always gotten us what we needed. But what works for me doesn’t work for everyone. The New Jim Crow is a good book to start with.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:45 AM on December 7, 2019 [70 favorites]


But as it stands, a vote not going to Labour is a vote that could have helped stopped austerity.

Apart from Labour are a leave party and it's the people who paid for austerity who will also be bearing the brunt of the economic hit that will come with that.
posted by biffa at 7:48 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's really hard to live in Narnia and have a relationship with somebody living on Earth.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:49 AM on December 7, 2019 [7 favorites]


I've come back and forth on how to comment on this, but what I want to point to is more complicated than "should you deny a Republican orgasms"... My conclusion is that you should, but I question that every day, and I reach it through many different conclusions.

First of all, my personal experience with regard to this goes like this -
- 5 years ago, in a relationship, I was neglected, and I ended it after a month of this person avoiding contact (after which, 1.5 years ago, she dumped her then-partner to live with me, but didn't know how to use map apps, refused to use glasses despite being nearsighted, and spoke often about wanting a man to "take care" of her, and engaged in all kinds of shady things to take care of her chihuahua, including bringing him here, and I'm allergic to dogs; after which I kicked her off my couch). She had a family history of schizophrenia and relationship trouble, and dear god I gave it a year on my couch, because everyone deserves a friend who'll take care, but the rules were no dog, because allergy, because why is there Ventolin everywhere in my house, why do I not adopt a pet despite liking them, that is why madam, and that is why you and your stuff can be here but not your dog.
- 1 year ago, I was asked to convert to a conservative strain of a religion so that I would be marriage-eligible by the parents of the daughter in question, and in which the question "death is appropriate for apostasy" is a majority opinion (yes I'm referring to Islam, yes the data is a province-domestic polling company, yes I heard precisely those words from the mouth of the mother (who herself was divorced but that's relevant only in what follows outside the parenthessis), this is not "anti-Muslim", this is "I checked YOU, this person, out, and hell no", I met the father but didn't talk to him about this), and was subsequently cheated on when I declined (and she has since married the third party, I acknowledge this factor was important to her, I disagree strongly with vicarious emotional blackmail, via your parents, community, or anyone else). I subsequently joined Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, because ugh.
- 3 years ago, a was in a potential LTR with someone who, unfortunately, had a widowed father who demanded "no divorcees", and I happen to be one of those. She said "you know how it is in our culture", I said, "I know what excuses assholes in your culture make, and you know I got divorced 10 years ago, it was amicable and there are no debts and kids, and this has nothing to do with the present, so would you please explain to your father that he can meet me and ask me questions and get the most honest and real answers he'll get anywhere, and can you please not exclude me from present consideration based on something that happened far in the past?" She did not include me in present consideration, and instead married a smacky smacky man who I have to hear about on the regs. In trying to talk her out of it, I got over it.
- There are many more examples, but these for consideration.
- I'm currently in a potential (not exclusive but frequent) LTR/LDR+regular visits in which my partner is 1) religious 2) has married but multicultural parents 3) has more money than me 4) is a public persona of sorts 5) a devoted activist in causes she believes in 6) a devoted activist in causes I also believe in 7) no one I've ever dated has been 6, and omfg it's a game-changer!!!!!

It's a game changer because we believe in the same things, and we know that power is an unfortunately realpolitik game that is also winnable through not shitty-person methods. Furthermore, nationalism/culture is a thing where we say, "I get it, but there are ways to adapt this to 2019, and sometimes culture is just wrong, and this is just how life goes, it's not static. USian, Islam, these can mean things that you can speak in, because it's Protestantism and hadiths and also, have you even seen where/how China lets citizen debate happen when it wants it to happen, they open-source the questions they can't figure out on social media, and have you seen the future tech and the implications, so 'Chinese' itself is up for debate", and I cannot tell you my delight in dating someone with my perspective. I don't care how long this lasts, this is a person who sees the world I see. Who sees that the future is an interesting, challenging, unpredictable place, and who believes that effort and commitment to the people you choose to love and who make you feel good are the way to move forward no matter what happens.

Like...I'm seeing a person who realizes that #fashionrevolution is a thing that killed 1,338 people and who thinks it's hot that I wear 8-year old in my winter climate unless I'm in public.

So tell me - how am I supposed to date a Republican, after dating a serious person? After putting in the work to be a serious person? After dating non-serious people and seeing how comically stupid and misled they are? After realizing how much potential and danger the future holds? As a member of the reality-based community who takes people as I find them, knowing what I know, why am I expected to take a Trump voter seriously if they don't have a good apology ready? As someone who advocates for things that help the commons, and regularly argues with misled and malicious people who aren't helping? Why am I expected to offer my researched and allegedly quite satisfactory capacity for orgasm provision to people who are in the way, rather than people who get it and turn me on because of that?

The answer is no. If you voted for Trump. Then I hope no one sleeps with you until you plant 1000 trees, personally open a branch of Planned Parenthood, and swear fealty to Baphomet. And I'll be over here sexing the people who get turned on by your demographic's attrition and slow destruction (we do), thanks to the kinks built into me by the trauma you and daddy-issue authoritarian subs like you enabled. I'll be teaching your children my values, too, because I don't have my own children, and I have time to be that queer-friendly army that's coming for yours. Want daddy to come fix it? Donate to Bernie. :)

In conclusion, politics is sexual, because everything is politics and everything is sexual. Why would you settle for anything less? Identifying as a Trump voter is the years-unwashed foreskin of politics. And there are direct analogies with so many other behaviors from every ideology. And I am not obligated to put up with you if you're one of those irritants. The world is, and can be, a better place than that crap, and my romantic empathy ends if you aren't open to that.

Are you someone who wants to compromise with conservatives? Are you someone who thinks we should consider "every viewpoint"? Or god forbid, do you think your religion, cultural value, or other belief should disemperson someone else? Well then sir/madam/they, I promise that I shall not only live my values openly, I shall live them in such a way as is specifically intended to disempower you until you are publicly and tangibly sorry, and I will get off on the power trip, defended by the very laws of liberalism and using the same disempowering tactics you use against others against yourself. That's what I'll be doing. You get to do whatever you want to do, because free speech or something. Good luck!
posted by saysthis at 8:00 AM on December 7, 2019 [5 favorites]


Man reading those quotes from the couples who are okay in political mixed marriages, I can pretty confidently say I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with the more liberal half of them either because HOW CAN YOU JUST IGNORE SHIT THAT EFFECTS OTHER PEOPLE EVEN IF IT DOESN'T EFFECT YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW PERSONALLY?! That is superduper not one of my values. You gotta be this empathetic to ride, bucko.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:16 AM on December 7, 2019 [24 favorites]


his response was "But we could have consensual sex and you could regret it and tell people I raped you, and they'd all believe you and I'd be in jail." With that as a foundation, there's nowhere for a relationship to go.

Yes, you should expect people who have been indoctrinated into a cult to share the fears of that cult, even if they are almost entirely unfounded. I choose to be angry at the leaders and those who are actively working against me, not those who have been bamboozled, have just then displayed a possible crack in the facade, and otherwise seem like they might have a decent head on their shoulders that's obscured by a bag of shit at the moment.

That said, I can totally understand why people who aren't me choose differently, especially in this day and age when anyone who is actually paying attention (which is an unfortunately rare trait) should be able to clearly see that the Republican Party leadership is full of traitorous Nazi wannabes without outside assistance. Between the possibility of immediate danger and the way we are being intentionally deprived of sanity and a sense of security in our lives to keep us off kilter and unable to get in the way of the looting, it simply isn't doable for many of us much or all of the time.
posted by wierdo at 8:24 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


The article about the Hong Kong protester whose wedding to a police officer is on hold is a really great example of the basic concept from the OP. Give things another couple of months, and her potential husband could be turning her into the authorities to be extradited to China. It's obviously a hard decision to break up with someone you've been seeing and very happy with for eight years, but the threat to her personal safety is undeniably higher than it was a few months ago, and that danger would be smaller (if even fractionally) by cutting off contact with that officer.

For a lot of people, politics isn't theoretical and there are consequences for bringing the wrong people into your life. If you're lucky, the consequences are just that you're romantically unhappy for a while and then you dump the motherfucker. But people aren't always lucky.
posted by chrominance at 8:25 AM on December 7, 2019 [18 favorites]


I think a lot of "pragmatic, moderate centrists" confuse "politics" with tactics and assume anyone who disagrees with their core assumptions of how the world works to be simply crazy, evil or misinformed (and then assuming the misinformed are actually just crazy or evil when their arguments don't sway them).

I don't think even pragmatic, moderate centrists would have trouble with the concept of not wanting to date someone who appears to lack a basic sense of moral clarity.
posted by Reyturner at 8:43 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Acceptable reasons to not be attracted to someone: their looks, their hygiene, their fashion sense, their taste in music.

Unacceptable reasons to not be attracted to someone: their values and beliefs.

That's ridiculous.
posted by straight at 8:46 AM on December 7, 2019 [15 favorites]


I've been married to a person very far on the right. There are several issues here that I'd like to bring up. First of all, way up in the first comments orange swan wrote:
This is not only an important principle in terms of being a good citizen of the world who doesn't support bigotry, but is also self-preservationist. If you begin dating someone who thinks they can justify treating other people with abuse or discrimination, it is extremely likely that someday they may decide to class *you* with those who don't matter, and treat you accordingly. You know that old chestnut about paying attention to how your dinner date treats the waitstaff, because that's how they're going to treat you in four months' time? It's all of a piece with that.
In my personal experience this is true.
So how could I marry the guy? Well, its a long story, but for the purpose of this discussion I think there were two things:
1: We didn't talk politics much. There were tons of other common interests where we were very much in agreement.
2: I don't understand right-wing politics. I tend to think right-wing people I meet are joking, because their politics are so stupid and don't make any sense. This has given me endless problems during my life. I'm beginning to learn.

Since about 2000, the right has taken a hard turn into reckless inhumanity. I read there was some new research showing that the left is "less tolerant" than the right. That is probably true in the media both-sidism universe. I am less tolerant of people on the right than I was in 1989, because people on the right have more radical opinions now than they had then. I remember a "friend" being pro-torture after 9-11. A colleague wanted to explore the dark design, of weapons and prison cells. Islamophobic family members. And on and on.
posted by mumimor at 8:52 AM on December 7, 2019 [11 favorites]


Fact is, I'm totally with her -- Trump is a big bag of dogshit. But most politicians are big bags of docshit

This is somewhat of a derail, so I'd really prefer not to argue about it, but I would like it to be expressed somewhere on the page that no, most politicians aren't actually dog shit, even compared to our popular conception of them, much less Trump.

A lot of them are, but most aren't, even if most current Republicans are. All politicians get covered in shit by smear campaigns, salacious gossip, and innuendo, regardless of its truth. We make the mistake of assuming that because some are quite visibly corrupt all the others must be as well.

I'm speaking of the politicians themselves, not our political system as currently constituted, which is indeed largely corrupt. It certainly makes everyone who participates look like they are covered in manure, but that's inevitable when the system is dumping it on you in a continuous and unceasing torrent.

Expressing the kind of attitude that all politicians are slime is self defeating, and strongly contributes to the deterioration of our institutions. Most individual politicians have little more power than you or I when it comes to changing the system itself. Many of them even talk about it a lot, but nobody listens. Nobody listens to what (all but a few) politicians actually say or do anyway.
posted by wierdo at 8:54 AM on December 7, 2019 [22 favorites]


Acceptable reasons to not be attracted to someone: their looks, their hygiene, their fashion sense, their taste in music... posted by straight

Acceptable reasons to not be attracted to someone: Cryptic/random MeFi username.

Signed, zaixfeep
posted by zaixfeep at 8:57 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: There are consequences for bringing the wrong people into your life.
posted by zaixfeep at 8:59 AM on December 7, 2019


Since about 2000, the right has taken a hard turn into reckless inhumanity.

And many people I know who used to be more Republican, or conservative or American versions of Right--who still consider themselves Republican but "not like those GOP crazies"--around then disengaged entirely from politics or leaned hard into the "every politician is the same and politics is just corrupt bullshit" excuse to not examine their beliefs or how the modern GOP is actually behaving.

Those people? Well, I tend to salvage what I can in the very important relationships. Talk about bourbon, or our pets, or--god forbid--even football. But i wouldn't date one and if I met a new person like that whom I thought I liked, I'd probably not try to build a deeper relationship that the odd happy hour, as soon as I discovered that is what they believed.

That latter rejection of people may well be a failing. But as we like to say around here "put on your own oxygen mask first" and "you are not obligated to set yourself on fire to keep others warm." Our government is in crisis; our environment is in crisis. Children are in camps, dying for want of basic medical care of the sort I can get at the drugstore across the street. To live your life as though it is ethical, reasonable, or human to shrug that off is, according to every value I have, wrong. So I can't spend the emotions I have on someone I so fundamentally cannot agree with.

And I will not be shamed for that, nor will I shame anyone else for it.

Now, my Spouse agrees with me, in broad strokes, about what government should be and provide, about whom it should protect, and how it should function. And Spouse agrees with me that the crisis is intense. We diverge in reaction to it, engagement with it, and protest against it. I do more of that than Spouse does. But make no mistake, we both make calls to Congress, we both vote, we both show up. But it's okay to have different amounts of energy for it--We all have to put on our own oxygen masks first.

So, these small disagreements; these minor differences in obligation to engage--that's what in the U.S. at least has for most of my life time been considered "the political divide". It is disingenuous to pretend that that is still the divide in ideology: details about civic engagement or the estate tax.

PLUS everything Frowner said about the framing this as about dating relationships being more structural misogyny and examined lingering effects of patriarchy .
posted by crush at 9:12 AM on December 7, 2019 [25 favorites]


Olive Kitteridge pairs up with Jack Kennison because the needs they're out to satisfy are way higher up on Maslow's hierarchy than politics. That said, Maslow's politics were to the right.
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:18 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


>>>> his response was "But we could have consensual sex and you could regret it and tell people I raped you, and they'd all believe you and I'd be in jail." With that as a foundation, there's nowhere for a relationship to go.

> I choose to be angry at the leaders and those who are actively working against me, not those who have been bamboozled,

Once again here is an example of someone thinking the political could not possible be personal.

Weirdo, this isn't about who you blame or who you're angry at. It's a question of whether it is safe for a woman to date a man who holds these views about rape. I can tell you from experience: it is absolutely not safe.

Why? Because the spaces and the cults which propagate the delusion that women have the power to ruin men's lives with false rape accusations are always and invariably hostile to the idea of enthusiastic consent between partners.

Anyone who has been bamboozled into believing any part of that set of delusions is either already a rapist or about to become one. Contrary to popular belief, most rapists are not moustache twirling evil villains.

Extremely often, a rapist is a man who "innocently" and implicitly/unconsciously believes his wife owes his sex, surely, and so will pout or be angry or give her the silent treatment until she puts out. Or that his girlfriend has it so easy in the dating world, because she holds all the power, and so it's okay for him to overcome her "last minute resistance" to get sex from her. It's only fair to use his power to get what he wants, after all, because she could at any moment ruin his life with her power to cry rape.
posted by MiraK at 9:35 AM on December 7, 2019 [33 favorites]


phenylphenol: Small government; our family can take care of itself through industriousness and contribution, one earns money through good deeds, one builds wealth through wise decisions, etc. The radical leftist counter-view is probably something like, "you only believe that because society privileges you as a white cis-male, the truth of the matter is that we live in a world of systematic oppression and neo-colonial ambition divided on race, sex, and sexual orientation lines."

My experience of it, as a white male: My privilege, even in a city that prides itself on equality, has acted mostly as a multiplier. When I work hard, I get 10% more raises, 10% more benefit of the doubt, 10% more cushion. (Okay, maybe more than that.) Through the magic of marginal savings (if two people are both spending $50K but one of them earns $50K and the other earns $60K, saving rates will be very different) and compound interest, that means I'll probably retire as a millionaire while colleagues without my privilege will be lucky to break even over their careers - especially since my greater earnings mean I'm driving up housing costs in this already-expensive city.

The fundamental problem - and I'm not sure if there's a solution to this - is that we set up systems to reward people who do good things and punish people who do bad things, and the systems partially work that way - as in your experience, which isn't wrong within your circumscribed orbit - but people figure out how to manipulate those systems to get the rewards of doing good while doing evil. I remember reading that early systems of slavery in many West African communities were originally set up to punish crime, because they didn't do capital punishment. Do something bad, suffer bad consequences, system working as designed. But when slaves became big business for sugar, tobacco and, later, cotton plantations, a few people in both Africa and the Americas figured out how to work the system to become fabulously rich by doing evil. System broken. People doing good by speaking up against the system in West Africa or the colonies received instead the punishments that the system should've handed out to the slave traders and slave owners.

Relationships between groups get mediated by the market, which erases moral information and replaces it with price information, so in your merit-based community you can see that your hard work and honesty get rewarded and you don't have to think about the horrors that went into the attractive prices you see for sugar and shoes, prices that multiply the reward you receive for doing good.

On the other hand, there's a reason that the people of Hong Kong have been protesting for months to stay under a British-inspired system of law instead of being pulled into the CPC system. There are seeds of fairness for all in it - like the "promissory note" MLK saw in the American constitution - which have, very gradually, an inch per century, been expanded to more and more groups. There's a reason we're not all in jail despite saying all the radical leftist stuff we say here on Metafilter. There are people manipulating and modifying the system in order to get good rewards for doing evil, but the system is not completely broken in the way that it was during the height of the slave trade.

Now I just need to find a partner who finds these conversations interesting. Somehow when I break this stuff out when playing on the playground with my daughter it never goes over well...
posted by clawsoon at 9:49 AM on December 7, 2019 [10 favorites]


MiraK: Why? Because the spaces and the cults which propagate the delusion that women have the power to ruin men's lives with false rape accusations are always and invariably hostile to the idea of enthusiastic consent between partners.

What I learned growing up in an Evangelical church in the '80s is that women never really, truly want sex. Sex is a sacrifice they make. With that assumption, consent is impossible, and talk about enthusiastic consent sounds like talk about unicorns. If you think about that assumption too long, you come to the uncomfortable conclusion that all sex is ultimately rape.

Then I encountered the PUA community, which argued that women do consent enthusiastically, but only with the elite 1% of the population, so you have to trick them into believing that you're part of that alpha-male fraternity in order to have consensual-if-you-don't-count-deception sex.

Thankfully, positive experiences with enthusiastic partners taught me that both of those assumptions are false. Thank goodness for the triumph of life over theory.
posted by clawsoon at 10:05 AM on December 7, 2019 [11 favorites]


Now I just need to find a partner who finds these conversations interesting.

Amen -- hopefully transcending partisanship too.
posted by phenylphenol at 10:07 AM on December 7, 2019


About eight years ago, somewhat blind first date:

Me: AMAB, pre-treatment trans but willing to be open about it in dating.

Them: AFAB, cis? Apparently ok with me being not-cis, leading me to feel secure that almost everything else would be cool, politically speaking.

First date: Really nice, crowded Thai place in my neighborhood. I only managed to get us seats because I was a regular kind of crowded.

Warning sign one, there were literally no other warning signs before this: "Ewwww, you're getting tofu? Whhyyyyy? That stuff is disgusting!" "Uhh, because I like tofu and they do it really good here? You should try it." "I've never eaten that fake crap and don't intend to start now!"

We start talking. I know I mentioned where I grew up before and they had talked about where they grew up in, AFAIR, Wyoming.

I'm literally 3-4 bites into dinner when it topic of where I grew up comes up again, in LA, and she says this, loudly, with a completely straight face:

"Oh, wow, I thought LA was nothing but criminals and ni**ers!"

*record scratch* I put my fork down and I'm looking around me and yep, pretty much everyone within like 2-3 tables of us is frozen mid-bite, staring at our table with totally uncharacteristic attention for Seattle. Jaws all around me are dropped and slack.

"Uhm... whaaaaaat?" I manage to say, poking at my food.

She doubles down and repeats what she just said just as loudly and clearly. I hear several gasps from nearby tables.

"I'm sorry, I really can't do this. This obviously isn't ever going to work. Good luck, I'm out." I manage to say and I pull out enough to cover my share of the meal and the tip, put it next to my nearly full plate and step outside. I've never left a nearly full plate of food like that anywhere in my entire life. I grew up poor, it's unfathomable. But I'm not sitting around waiting for a to go box, not today.

I've also never just walked away from a date before but I didn't know what else to do. I needed to go.

Later, via text: "I'm not sure how I offended you. If I said something really offensive shouldn't you tell me about it?"

My reply was something like "If you think saying that about where I grew up while I was sitting right in front of you isn't somehow offensive, there's probably a million other things you'll eventually say that are equally offensive and hurtful to other people. If you said that at a dinner party at my friend's houses they'd pretty much disown me and cut me off. And I want a partner, not a project."

I still feel a little bad because she seemed genuinely confused, like she was just casually repeating some common knowledge about LA that everyone agreed with even though she'd never been within 500 miles of LA.
posted by loquacious at 10:09 AM on December 7, 2019 [25 favorites]


Talking with some formerly-conservative women I grew up with, the tragedy is that many of them didn't have orgasms for a long time, because the things they were taught about purity fucked up their relationships with their bodies for years.
posted by clawsoon at 10:09 AM on December 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


I choose to be angry at the leaders and those who are actively working against me, not those who have been bamboozled, have just then displayed a possible crack in the facade, and otherwise seem like they might have a decent head on their shoulders that's obscured by a bag of shit at the moment.

This is my life I'm talking about. How can I honestly have a relationship with someone who is afraid I might "cry rape" on him? How can I feel comfortable sharing formative experiences of sexual violence with someone who thinks the Me Too movement has gone too far? I'm glad you can intellectualize your political concerns to the extent that you don't worry about your safety and bodily autonomy and the safety of people you love, and the ways the beliefs of the people you date might intersect with those... but that's not my experience. And I don't think it makes you more enlightened or broader-minded or better to be able to compartmentalize those things when you're deciding who to date.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:54 AM on December 7, 2019 [27 favorites]


(Tangent now, but when you say stuff like "There are lots and lots of Christians who do not believe the Bible is to be taken literally in any sense," you actually are taking a specific position in a theological debate which is very different from "many/most Christians believe that certain stories in the OT are best considered as parables or metaphors." As I'm sure a Lutheran pastor parent could tell you without even waking up from a nap, that church adheres to the ecumenical creeds, all of which affirm a belief in the historical reality of the Crucifixion. Also, quite weird to assume that when I referred to Christian belief systems, I was referring to various form of bigotry. It's truly not a complicated position that it would be difficult to join your life with that of someone who believes he's taking his deepest moral instruction from a to-you-imaginary omnipotent being who will judge all humanity by that standard.)
posted by praemunire at 11:00 AM on December 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


(You misunderstand, "not all of the things in the list", not "none of the things on the list". And the ecumenical standards in the church in question are such that a vicar was fired - not expelled, but merely fired - after much deliberation and controversy, for saying he didn't believe in God. Not all churches are strict and dogmatic.)
posted by Dysk at 11:10 AM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


And there's quite the history on here of "lol sky wizard" comments used to equate a particular strand of US fundamentalism with Christianity as a whole, and it carries the connotations of accusations of bigotry. Apologies if that's not the vibe you were going for with your "they literally believe a dude lived in a fish!" comment, but it certainly reads that way. Using 'serious' to mean 'fundamentalist' is both incorrect and insulting to a lot of serious Christians.
posted by Dysk at 11:16 AM on December 7, 2019 [13 favorites]


Yeah I GUESS being openly contemptuous of the person you're supposed to love is another option, but why not just... not date people you don't respect

Thinking someone is wrong or misinformed does not, for me, equate to being contemptuous of them. I don't feel contempt, I feel bemusement and a desire to understand how an apparently good and sensible person could have ended up with views so far from my own.
posted by zeri at 12:21 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


The whole "look at these sensible centrists bravely dating, even marrying, other sensible centrists who are a slightly different kind of centrist!" baseline here has me thinking ... uh ... oh boy. Of the Dragon Lady Bad video, where Ellis is pointing out that by the end of GoT characters are portrayed as dangerous and destructive not because they have destructive beliefs, but because they have strong beliefs in the first place. It's a slight update to the emotions vs. reason lie opposition, I guess, but not any kind of improvement.

And of course, no coincidence that so many of us can see the "awful feminists denying men their right to love and companionship!" magic eye image without straining our eyes even a little. Women and their feelings, you know. Why can't they just be sensible.

(And I think it's related that - not to dunk on anyone here, just reminded me of it - I've started having the same Pavlovian oh are we GOING there? seriously? reaction to the word "partisanship" that I've so long had to "hysterical". Though at least "partisan" isn't actually from the Greek for "bleeding heart is sucking out all her brain function" or whatever...)
posted by Tess of the d'Urkelvilles at 1:17 PM on December 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


I couldn't be with someone who is against universal medical care any more than I could be with someone who kicks puppies. All politics are local, right down to where your heart is.
posted by pracowity at 1:38 PM on December 7, 2019 [11 favorites]


At a very basic level, people upset about people screening potential partners based on deeply held views of the world that speak, deeply, to their personality, character, and how they are likely to treat other people sort of mystify me. If a guy holds regressive views about what a woman should or shouldn’t (mostly shouldn’t) be allowed to do with her body, why would they think any woman would want to...

Oh. Got it. This is just one of those moments where they just haven’t gotten to saying the “women should be more open to giving sex to any man who demands it” part out loud, yet, right?
posted by Ghidorah at 2:06 PM on December 7, 2019 [28 favorites]


they just haven’t gotten to saying the “women should be more open to giving sex to any man who demands it” part out loud, yet, right?
I'm left wondering about how much this ties into demographics, yeah.
This isn't talking about "Younger liberal men should date older conservative women", this isn't "younger conservative (men or women) should date older liberal (men or women)",
this seems pretty exclusively "younger liberal women should be open to older conservative men", and that gets *really* hinky tied into fetishization of youth vs. political leanings by age.
posted by CrystalDave at 5:50 PM on December 7, 2019 [15 favorites]


I personally am worried, all the time, about people who won’t date or be friends with people who are politically different from them.

I have no problem dating or being friends with people that are politically different than me. I am, both with more and less liberal people than me. But to continue to support the Republican party at this time means that someone is either malicious or willfully ignorant and I don't have any need to have either of those in my life.
posted by Candleman at 6:00 PM on December 7, 2019 [9 favorites]


One thing threads like this point out is how fugly and invisible some of us are. I mean, if you're "cute", I suppose you get to pick and choose a bit more, and it doesn't feel like last possible chance if you don't go out with anyone? I still won't date a Republican, but I also am not spoilt with choice, so the hypothetical GA nazi clone turn-down would be an internal ordeal. So I can see "desperation" being a motivator for some to end up with a partner they find repulsive from a moral perspective.
posted by maxwelton at 6:09 PM on December 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


This is my life I'm talking about. How can I honestly have a relationship with someone who is afraid I might "cry rape" on him? How can I feel comfortable sharing formative experiences of sexual violence with someone who thinks the Me Too movement has gone too far?

Many people uncritically repeat bullshit they've heard, yet don't actually believe it when questioned gently. As I said in my original comment, I don't blame anyone for not having the spoons to find out which is actually the case and maybe help sometime start down the road to deprogramming. It's always great when people can help each other, but self preservation always has to come first.
posted by wierdo at 4:41 AM on December 8, 2019


I don't think it's wise to date or be friends with someone who enthusiastically supports criminal behavior.

I definitely don't think it's wise to date or be friends with someone who is overly concerned by criminal behaviour, given how many laws exist to inflict pain and prevent resistance.
posted by Acid Communist at 6:24 AM on December 8, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don't think it's wise to date or be friends with someone who enthusiastically supports criminal behavior.

I definitely don't think it's wise to date or be friends with someone who is overly concerned by criminal behaviour, given how many laws exist to inflict pain and prevent resistance.


Between the two of you you've found the nub of it, and clearly the only answer is to date a moderate centrist.
posted by clawsoon at 6:35 AM on December 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


“One thing threads like this point out is how fugly and invisible some of us are. I mean, if you're "cute", I suppose you get to pick and choose a bit more, and it doesn't feel like last possible chance if you don't go out with anyone?”

My race makes me invisible in many, many, many dating venues - where’s our whiny article about how people who won’t date us are what’s wrong with this country? The first guy I ever kissed turned out to be a libertarian who thought Lincoln was a tyrant. I didn’t have to be belle of the ball to pass after hearing that.
posted by Selena777 at 6:56 AM on December 8, 2019 [13 favorites]


I don't blame anyone for not having the spoons to find out which is actually the case and maybe help sometime start down the road to deprogramming

The reason why wannabe rapists speak like wannabe rapists is not because their tragic disabilities leave them no time and no energy to understand what rape culture is. NO. Literally even disabled people cannot use their disability as their excuse for not knowing what rape culture is. But you're doing one worse: appropriating the terms coined by actual disabled people for describing disabilities ("spoons") to defend the intellectual laziness, egotism, and privilege blindness of these disgusting men. Stop.
posted by MiraK at 9:20 AM on December 8, 2019 [9 favorites]


Oh wait you meant you don't blame someone for not helping a disgusting man understand why it's wrong to speak in rapey ways. I misunderstood.
posted by MiraK at 9:28 AM on December 8, 2019 [6 favorites]


I find myself extremely comfortable with drawing the line at people who are cool with babies being stolen from their parents and left in cages, without anyone even worrying about how they might be reunited with them. Featherbed + an arctic Feathered Friends duvet comfortable.

That's also why I don't date Obama supporters (at least before I spend a lot of time having to explain that he also drone murdered children without trial and put kids in cages).

To frame this as just a "left vs right" thing ignores that there is a whole history of centrist liberal horror that has been whitewashed away thanks to Trump.
posted by Ouverture at 9:29 PM on December 8, 2019 [3 favorites]


People decide not to date others for all sorts of reasons: maybe their date is too picky an eater, maybe there's no "chemistry", maybe their date didn't go to the right school, maybe their date isn't their type, maybe they're just not into "rice or spice", maybe they're a little too into "rice and spice"...

...and yet when it comes not wanting to date based on political beliefs, there's pearl-clutching about how this is "counterproductive strategy" or that dating could be a chance to "deprogram"/observe erroneous beliefs a potential partner might have.

Y'know, if you want to go into a relationship to "fix" someone, be my guest, but maybe some of us don't want to have a relationship that is *that* particular kind of work? People go into relationships all the time trying to "fix" their partners and often find nothing but heartbreak and exhaustion, and that's before even getting into the realm of "politics", which is such a nebulous sort of thing in the first place--after all, to so many cishet white dudes, just mentioning that you aren't *one* of those things is immediately "political".

You are free to judge, but that doesn't mean your judgement carries any weight. Like a lot of us have said, many, many times, I have no time, no patience, and no desire to put myself in any more danger than I have to for a mediocre date with some person who may or may not see me as a whole human.

A person must have certain qualifications before I consider a date with them, and I don't think that's a bad thing. It's less shallow and more useful than "I'd prefer it if they were taller" and "I hope they have lovely arms".
posted by anem0ne at 11:31 PM on December 8, 2019 [10 favorites]


Thinking someone is wrong or misinformed does not, for me, equate to being contemptuous of them. I don't feel contempt, I feel bemusement and a desire to understand how an apparently good and sensible person could have ended up with views so far from my own.

This sounds like something that can hold for casual acquaintances, or in the short term. It's like, believing someone is misinformed is grand, but that either ends when they become correctly informed, or when they refuse to integrate the real world into their skewed perceptions. At that point the intrigue and bemusement sort of fall away. It doesn't strike me as an attitude toward it that is sustainable in a long term couple-relationship?
posted by Dysk at 3:23 AM on December 9, 2019 [6 favorites]


The radical leftist counter-view is probably something like, "you only believe that because society privileges you as a white cis-male, the truth of the matter is that we live in a world of systematic oppression and neo-colonial ambition divided on race, sex, and sexual orientation lines."

So you broke up because you had different values, but you never actually listened to her values enough to be sure what they were? Yeah, wow, who could have foreseen that the two of you wouldn't work out!

Actually a very illustrative anecdote in light of much of the thread-- for many men, especially conservative men, the opinions of women are fripperies, maybe adorable, but certainly never serious. Not something worth changing plans for. Not something to seriously take under advisement, which might cause you to re-examine evidence. More than a few conservative women have made this fact into lucrative careers, in fact-- the eternal changeability of women!! -- so conservative men are often especially baffled when leftist women expect to be treated like people whose opinions matter.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:46 AM on December 9, 2019 [14 favorites]


This sounds like something that can hold for casual acquaintances, or in the short term. It's like, believing someone is misinformed is grand, but that either ends when they become correctly informed, or when they refuse to integrate the real world into their skewed perceptions. At that point the intrigue and bemusement sort of fall away. It doesn't strike me as an attitude toward it that is sustainable in a long term couple-relationship?

i mean, i feel like the long history of hetero couples belies that last line...
posted by anem0ne at 10:40 AM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]


i feel like the long history of hetero couples belies that last line...

For much of recorded history, those hetero couples functioned more or less as hostage situations tho. I think most people are talking about healthy romantic relationships. History didn't have an overabundance of those, as far as I can tell. At least not in colonized regions. Could be wrong.
posted by avalonian at 10:49 AM on December 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


Our political beliefs are deeply held expressions of our moral/social selves, and someone not wanting to be with you because of them is essentially them saying "your deepest self is repugnant." Whether this is objectively true or not, it makes the monkey within feel profoundly rejected. This makes the monkey sad, and mad.

When you combine that with other existing factors - misogyny, racism, homophobia, etc - you get something very painful, very toxic, and very explosive.

At least, that's how it seems to me.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 11:30 AM on December 11, 2019


a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist: Our political beliefs are deeply held expressions of our moral/social selves

I think for some people that's true, and for some people politics are "ehn, whatever, I guess I'll just go along with whatever people say that doesn't get them in trouble."
posted by clawsoon at 12:21 PM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


« Older "I always tell my students that you rise when you...   |   native people have always had a pulse on pop... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments