With so many people not only at Boston University, but also in Boston itself, first impressions are everything. We occupy time with fun dating apps that are meant for judging strictly by appearance — and that’s okay! However, with the upcoming election, America’s political tensions are high and college social scenes are not excepted from the hysteria.
Recently, as my friends were sitting in the West dining hall, seeing each other for the first time after a long summer, we reminisced about how the dating scene here is so fun. We talked about how after a summer full of working and vacationing, our tastes had changed. Some of my friends were now into blonde guys instead of brunettes. Some wanted to date more studious guys instead of athletes. Some wanted a meaningful relationship (and some didn’t), but what stuck with me was my friend who insisted that any guy with a Trump shirt in one of their six selected pictures (or “Make America Great Again” slogans in their bio) was an automatic swipe left. I didn’t say a word. I just laughed, but it made me think — are two people inherently incompatible if they have different political views?
There’s so much talk about how opposites attract, but can political views run too deep?
Political ideology is rooted in one’s belief about how people should morally act. I find it hard to believe that two people who have fundamentally different ideas about how children should be raised, or how politicians should act, could live with each other for the rest of their lives. Of course, how far a person politically participates matters, which brings me to my dilemma — if someone goes as far as to advertise their chosen presidential candidate and you are of the opposing side, should you assume that you wouldn’t get along with that person?
At this point, I think we’ve all seen certain frat boys wearing “Make America Great Again” shirts. The website and Instagram account Total Frat Move advertises the widespread Trump-love among frat guys and it seems mainly comical. Should we take these guys seriously or ironically? Whenever I come across one of these frat guys on Tinder, I can usually tell from their bio if they take their candidate seriously or as a joke, like taking their “d***s out for Harambe.”
I’ve caught myself swiping left on a major cutie or two because their Trump shirt slapped me in the face. I’ve come to realize, however, that this face judgment doesn’t even have merit. How are we supposed to make any connections (online or in real life) by judging what someone is wearing, even if it signifies what they might believe? Isn’t that one of the first rules instilled in us by our parents — to not judge a book by its cover?
I get it. Tinder is made to have us literally judge every book by its cover — and more power to that! Maybe you get a little turned off by someone’s political paraphernalia because politics is boring and people care too much about it (as a political science major, I completely understand). But Tinder can be such a fun game when you swipe on bizarre people and see where it goes. I remember finding a guy around Boston posed as “Couch, 21” and stocked with six pictures of furniture. I mean, how can you resist talking to whoever’s behind that? My point is, have fun and don’t let anyone judge you for it.
Bringing this back to reality, even with the upcoming election this November, we cannot let our political beliefs separate us as a student body (at least for the first week of school). Sure, to you, a Trump or Hillary supporter might signal major issues in interaction, but get to know the person a bit. I’ve come to realize that behind a person’s political beliefs, as fundamentally opposite of yours they might be, you can find someone with a good heart and a fun soul— you just have to look past face value.
As the new school year starts here at BU, let’s all swipe left to judgment and swipe right to understanding and respect.