Why is the General Election Dividing Us?

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I feel like every Brit was born knowing the saying: ‘Never discuss politics and religion at the dinner table’. These days, however, it is thought that we have moved on from that. Apparently, everyone dances in a little circle of tolerance, braiding each others hair and just cuddling the differences away. In actuality, this snap election has caused the perpetuating cycle of elitism to rear its ugly head, where those who call themselves ‘passionate’ about their party use politics as a means to divide us from each other.

The people in my life are all over the political spectrum, so naturally there are some things they believe that I don’t agree with. All the bashing and downright brutality I’ve seen from recently politicised teenagers on social media seem to mistake ‘differences’ for ‘wrongs’. But singling out people for thinking a certain way and attacking the person rather than making a substantive argument is nothing more than schoolyard bullying shrouded with fancy words. It’s lazy to generalise a person based on who they’re voting for. If you support Labour, that doesn’t equate you with weakness, and if you want to vote Tory you aren’t automatically a stuck-up rich kid. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all value the people in our lives for so many different reasons. It can be their humour, kindness and so many other things that are unique to them.

There are millions of people in England and four main political parties and resulting ideologies. If these millions vote for one of the four parties, that doesn’t mean the resulting thousands exactly mirror one of these four ideologies. They broadly represent our views, so we shouldn’t equate each other with every inch of what our chosen parties represent. Democracy to me means that we all have the freedom to choose and think for ourselves, and people like Emily Davidson didn’t sacrifice their lives for any self-righteous prat to make you doubt yourself or by undermining you in a little Facebook comment.

I spent time on the committee of a major party society this year, and being so close to campus politics enlightened me to the toxic atmosphere when someone’s views are taken to the extreme. Suddenly, you were being penalised if you even associated with members of another party, and your actions on social media are closely monitored to ensure that you had no other affiliations apart from a pure-blooded loyalty – otherwise you would be deemed by some to be unfit to join their revolutionary little utopia. My response to people like that is: “Calm down, love, it’s a university society.”

Furthermore, by publicly affiliating with a certain party’s views, people began to make assumptions about me and the kind of person I was, assuming I was synonymous with every negative facet of that party. So, when you’re trying to work out who you are and what you believe, people your age who you’d expect to support you and be in the same boat instead decide to believe that they know everything about you based on knowing so little. How is that fair?

The 46 chromosomes in our body can’t just be categorised into blue, yellow or red – we are all DIFFERENT. We CHANGE. We EVOLVE. There is more to us than who we are voting in the election, and as that day draws closer I think we ought to be reminded of that. Don’t let anyone tell you who you can or can’t vote for, just do you. If anyone out there tries to tell you otherwise, articulate to them that they need to go do one and get a bloody life.

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Wessex Scene's friendly neighbourhood Opinion Editor with a love of memes, food and complaining. Also News Editor at the Soton Tab and occasional contributor to The Daily Touch.

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