Are you a Republican or Democrat?


In most countries, when you meet someone, the greeting is generally, “Hi, how are you?  My name is…” and the exchange is complete.  There is an additional requirement here in the US and to all foreigners, if you try and play the “I am not American card” you will likely be asked to speculate “if you were” and respond accordingly to “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?”

I may not be remembering my youth accurately, but I do not even recall my parents discussing politics, their political positions or who they were going to vote for.  It was, and I believe still is, a very private matter.  When I came to the US, it felt as though people were defining their establishment with you interpersonally by your political persuasion and often it would suffice for me to claim “I am Canadian” in order to remove myself from that requirement but there are people who press.

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Having lived in the US since 1997 pursuing various degrees and vocations, I have seen a number of elections come and go and even with the four year (or slightly less) break from the drama, I am still regularly amazed at the way this culture approaches politics, the fact that church and state are very much not separate, and how people will make or break friendships on political platforms alone.

What would happen if, as a culture, we focused more on striving for what is best, and showing grace with the rest?

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3 thoughts on “Are you a Republican or Democrat?

  1. Renee, you are living in one of the *most* conservative parts of the US. The most conservative part of a rather conservative state. When I lived on the lower east side in Manhattan, that was on the polar opposite end of the spectrum. I rarely meet people who ask me flat out what my affiliation is where I live now in northern Virginia. I certainly don’t think it is appropriate in many facets of life to ask who someone supports or votes for. A family member asked my wife flat out who she voted for. We both agreed that the question was none of their business.

  2. Lynchburg is definitely a very conservative area and some of that may be attributed to the Falwells’ presence. They have been a force for good in many ways, but they have also been a powerful polarizing force in the political arena. In my opinion, the Falwell empire is a perfect example of religion and politics not being separated as required by our Constitution.

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