The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Cross Currents: Does talking about politics divide or unite the family?

The Channels Opinion Pages | CROSS CURRENTS
Alloy Zarate
Illustration by Alloy Zarate, 2020

The nation is not the only thing divided by politics. Every family is affected by the pressing issues that legislators talk about. Sensitive topics have the potential to cause rifts between family members, so some don’t talk about them at all. This week, staff members took a look at how political discussions in the household have shaped their lives up to this day.


August Lawrence, Associate Editor

Political talk among the family can get ugly.

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Keeping informed is important, but open discord over politics in the home doesn’t always breed happy and peaceful relationships.

My mom and I have a decently dependable connection, both knowing which lines not to cross when conversing. However, political talks have always been among the few things that spark fights. 

Our political tension magnified while forced into such close proximity during the pandemic, the protests following George Floyd’s murder and the upcoming election. 

Heated arguments turned into screaming matches, and any chance of finding a middle ground was gone. We never saw eye to eye.

But all hell broke loose when Senator Kamala Harris was announced as Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s vice president.

It all started with a single comment. By the end of the night it was clear that one of us passionately believed Harris was perfect for the job and the other firmly thought this was a purely political gesture.

For the next week we were so enraged with each other that we couldn’t even hold a conversation without wanting to rip each other’s heads off.

This ended one morning with an outburst of apologies. We both agreed to be open and understanding with each other when it came to politics. 

Ever since then things have been relatively calm, both of us making a conscious effort not to mention Trump, Biden, Harris or any other major political player.

It was like magic, gone were the dinners spent shouting at each other and we’ve found a happy medium.

Neither of us like it, but there’s always the possibility we might explode at each other if anyone mentions something like the president’s tweets.

Talking about politics is inevitable. The way this country is run affects all of us and should be discussed among everyone, only not at home.


Alloy Zarate, Associate Editor

Politics have always been a relevant discussion in my household with two immigrant parents and has helped to foster our relationships.

Although loud political arguments never erupted, my household hasn’t always been a safe space to express my views.

I put up a Pride flag in my room when I was 14, and my parents gave me a long lecture about how it made them uncomfortable and forced me to take it down.

They explained that they were afraid my social and political alignments would put me in danger, but it made me feel like they were censoring my expression.

This started my subconscious fear of bringing up politics with them.

I’m totally chill about telling my parents exactly what I think, as long as they’re the ones to bring it up.

A few months ago my dad casually asked me what I thought of the protests in Minneapolis.

I hesitated for a second, but I decided to tell him my honest thoughts. My mom overheard us and chimed in with her opinions.

We didn’t agree on everything and the conversation didn’t change my opinions, but I felt like they were taking me seriously enough to listen to what I had to say.

I was surprised my parents paid attention to American news enough to even have an opinion.

They’ve lived here for over 20 years but still don’t really consider themselves American.

In 2016, my dad would put on the election going on in Mexico while I was getting ready for him to drive me to school.

During my driving lessons this week, he put on a rerun of the presidential debate translated into Spanish.

I get the vibe he wants me to be well informed and be able to talk about politics in Spanish with him.

My parents make sure to tell me what they think and I feel like they respect me enough to hear my perspective.

In recent years, they have made more of an effort to ask about my thoughts on relevant political news without judgement or trying to force me to agree with them.

I enjoy this dynamic of watching the news together and having an informed chat. Our relationship has grown stronger because of it.


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