Beyond Red and Blue: The issue with political party stereotypes

Mallory Hearn, Opinion Guest-Writer

With the rise of technology we are able to share our opinions and fight for change, but along with that, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain a good status with others in terms of political correctness.
A few days ago I heard a conversation where someone said, “Once the mask mandate is lifted I will continue to wear my mask, because I don’t want people to think I’m Republican.” I was shocked. Since when did masks become political? The sad truth is that everything is political in today’s world. It blows my mind that people can’t share their opinion without fear of backlash. People have become so sensitive and stubborn to the point where they take an opposing viewpoint and frame it as a personal attack.
Everyone has freedom of speech (to an extent), but often people focus more on the right to be offended than the right to free speech. If you have an issue with something someone said, try to see it in a different way or realize it has nothing to do with politics, before you viciously associate them with a political party. Just because someone claims to be Republican doesn’t mean they are homophobic, racist and sexist, and just because someone claims to be a Democrat doesn’t mean they are “snowflakes” who enjoy watching you pout about raised gas prices.
We are supposed to be seen as a unified nation, but we’re getting farther from that everyday. We are so divided and close minded that we can’t even talk to each other without an argument. Every issue is polarized to the point where there is no room for personal interpretation. It’s nearly impossible to have a civil conversation in my Civics and Economics class without someone gossiping about you just because you believe something different from them. We automatically file someone into a stereotype when we don’t completely agree with their opinion.
Half of this issue I blame on social media for creating a so-called “safe space” where people basically bully each other through a screen, and the other half I blame on pure ignorance. If you determine friendships based on political party affiliation, you’re the issue, not the opposing side you won’t take time to understand.
This absurd sensitivity needs to stop if we as people want to come together and actually make a difference. So next time you make stereotypical assumptions about someone based solely on their political party status, think about the harm you are causing to others, society and your reputation.