In 2017, dating can feel like navigating a wasteland, especially for the conservative. Single conservatives are often asked, “Would you be willing to date a liberal?” For most of the conservatives I know, that’s a difficult question. It’s certainly easier to be with someone whose values align with our own, but we would be open to meeting someone and seeing what happens. The problem, in my experience? Liberals aren’t as open-minded. Cross-political dating usually ends quickly, with the liberal party deciding that he or she simply can’t be around someone who doesn’t share the “approved” perspective. This happened recently to two of my friends in our over-politicized society.
Take my friend Courtenay, for example. Living in Los Angeles, Courtenay didn’t assume anything about the political leanings of her blind date; she was simply open to meeting a new guy and seeing what happened over dinner. What happened was he started talking politics and mentioned how difficult it made his job as a playwright. “At some point in the conversation he started to complain how tough it is to be a playwright because the hateful people who believe in guns hate him and are so mean,” Courtenay told me.
Suggesting he have an open mind wasn’t helpful. “I asked him ‘do you really think they hate you? Or perhaps they just have a difference of opinion.’” He continued to spew hate against the people he said were hateful to him, and then wanted to get even more political by talking about President Trump. “I said ‘regardless of whether you agree/disagree or how you feel about the president, he is still the president of the United States and I don’t think it’s productive to react with hate or vitriol. I personally enjoy hearing others’ opinions and learning their perspectives and what makes them tick.’”
Courtenay tried to move the conversation away from politics, but he took her willingness to listen to other opinions as proof positive she was a Trump supporter and would have nothing more to do with her. “He said ‘I’m so appalled, I can’t even look at you! You must leave now! Go get out of here!’” You read that correctly—he literally asked her to leave because he couldn’t be with a person who suggested he should be open to other points of view. So, Courtenay left the restaurant, knowing that the tolerance brigade had struck again. When she tried to speak with the person who had set them up, she was sent to voicemail and never heard back. That’s what you get for straying from the approved (i.e. liberal) opinions in a city like L.A.
It’s not just men treating women this way. Liberal women are just as guilty, as my friend Josh found out. After only a few dates, the woman he was seeing mentioned that she voted for Hillary Clinton. Josh . . . didn’t. She responded by calling him “a racist, sexist homophobe and kicking me out,” he said. Of course, she called Trump these things as well. She “started calling Trump all the names and then it turned to her not believing I voted for him. Constant interrupting me and talking over me,” he said. She didn’t care about the things they had in common that had sparked their mutual interest in each other in the first place. “Liberals are liberals first. Always. If you’re a Christian but a liberal, your liberal views trump your Christian views.” After Josh left, his date continued to text him telling him why he was wrong, as though constant haranguing is the way to win (in relationships or in politics).
Perhaps this is the new reality for conservatives given how much of our culture has been politicized since the recent election. “Dating as a conservative is pretty much akin to doing anything else in life as a conservative,” Josh said, “where the other party has the ability to discriminate against you without consequence.”
But that’s too bad. All might be fair in love and war, but too much political warfare ruins dating. Liberals on the dating scene would do well to set politics aside (at least for a few dates) and give their more conservative peers a chance. They might be surprised by what they find.