We live in a society where politics is the root of deep tension and disdain. While it is important to have individual political beliefs, we can’t let them ruin us.

Two weeks ago, I lost my 93-year-old grandfather. My grandpa was the most amicable and loving man one could wish to be around. As my family frequently says, there is only one man papa hated: Donald Trump. While I loved to encourage heated political debates with him, I always learned from those conversations that our differing opinions did not impede my respect for his views. 

That is what our country is losing: respect for one another’s beliefs. We must remember that a person chooses to affiliate with a political party because he or she believes that the party’s platform encompasses the ideas that will make our country better. 

I have heard far too many stories of students losing friends over political differences. I know from experience that I have lost friends because I am proud to voice my political opinions. From unfollows on Instagram to verbal confrontations, I have seen the severity of what politics can do to people.

Recently, I think that personal identities and political affiliations have become intertwined. With our current political divide, it makes sense because our political beliefs tend to stem from our morals and values. Despite this, we must remember that we are not solely comprised of our political ideologies. 

We are better than this. We must be better than this.  

How are we one day supposed to lead a country when we, as college students, are losing respect for those we disagree with?

We all see the impeachment hearings taking place in Washington. We see partisanship in the spotlight with a rigid political divide between Democrats and Republicans. 

There is no stage being set for how to get things done in a mature manner in our political system. Elected government officials are supposed to set the example for what needs to be done and show how to collaborate in a respectable and civil way, but we must step up too. One day, we will be the ones leading this country. It is up to us to decide if we are going to let this political circus continue. 

I urge all students to voice what they believe, whether related to politics or to something else. But please, let’s all restore mutual respect for those around us. 

This article is particularly important heading into Thanksgiving.

I recall watching the news at this time last year with a headline, “What to do about politics during Thanksgiving dinner.” Really? Is this what we are going let it come to? None of us should need lessons on how to minimize political tension at a dinner table. 

Leave the political conversations for another day. Just enjoy and cherish the ability to celebrate Thanksgiving with the ones you love most. 

After all, that’s the only thing that really matters.

Carly Sloane Gettleman is a UF public relations junior