Fraternizing With the Enemy | The American Word

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Fraternizing With the Enemy

Dating the Political Opposite

Buzz Helfrich and Jenna Fortunati | 12/15/16 6:25pm
| Updated 12/15/16 6:25pm

Allison Bowen /
American Word Magazine

Philosophical differences can hinder any relationship, and political disputes especially may ruin any AU couple. American Word writers (and baes) Jenna Fortunati and Buzz Helfrich interviewed each other to learn more about what it’s like to date a political opposite.

Buzz Helfrich: So what’s the hardest part about dating me, a Republican?

Jenna Fortunati: Always having to be ready to defend an argument. Since students at American are mostly liberal, I can expect most people to agree with the political statements I make. But with you, no way.

JF: So what’s the hardest part about dating me?

BH: The arguments themselves. Disagreeing with someone in class is one thing, but arguing with you is a completely different experience. Obviously no couple agrees on everything, but the sheer length and depth of our political disputes makes me want to wave the white flag and become a verbal pacifist.

BH: What’s the part of dating me that you most tolerate?

JF: Well, tolerating isn’t the word I would use. Even though there have been a few times when I wanted to slap you across the face, I really do love that we have different opinions. You’ve helped me understand a side of politics I don’t get and I like to think that I’ve helped you see things in a different light, too.

BH: I feel the same way. In this political climate, it’s hard to understand why the “other side” feels a certain way, but dating you has definitely helped me overcome that.

JF: So how do you think we maintain our relationship despite, no pun intended, the elephant in the room?

BH: In all honesty, we’re more similar than we are different. We’re certainly not the first people to get along despite having different political affiliations. Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. They had opposite judiciary positions and were still each other’s best friend. They held annual New Year’s Eve parties and even rode an elephant together in India! The two of them had this incredible friendship because they valued each other as people rather than as ideological adversaries. And hopefully you would agree that that’s what our relationship is.

JF: I completely agree. But we haven’t ridden an elephant together—yet.