Let’s agree to disagree

Ryan Wenzel

Everybody knows romantic couples that embody the old adage of "opposites attract." But can true love build a bridge across the political divide?

According to several Northwestern couples, the answer is a firm yes.

Weinberg junior Adam Moses and McCormick junior Katie Russell date in spite of their varying political views.

Moses considers himself liberal and said he thought about working for the presidential campaign of Democratic Sen. John Kerry this summer. Russell describes herself as a Republican.

Russell said that most of the tension in her relationship with Moses has arisen during family gatherings. Moses’ family is almost completely liberal and Russell’s almost entirely conservative.

While eating lunch with Moses and his liberal grandmother, the issue of abortion was brought up and Russell said she felt "uncomfortable."

"The abortion issue is one of the few issues I typically allow myself to get involved in a debate over, but I figured it was better to not say anything and let the issue slide by," Russell said.

Moses said that he and Russell occasionally tease each other about politics: He recalled having a small war with Russell on AOL Instant Messenger after she referred to the "liberal media."

Mutual respect of both parties’ views is the key to maintaining a James Carville-Mary Matalin-esque relationship, according to Moses, referring to the husband-and-wife team of political advisors who work for opposite sides.

"Just don’t be a jerk," Moses advised. "We both know that politics don’t have to stand in the way of a healthy relationship, even if she will vote for Dubya (President George W. Bush)."

Weinberg freshman Tyler Perrachione — who said, "I have been planning to vote for Bush," and Weinberg sophomore Katy Lum, who said "I really hate Bush," encounter a similar dilemma, but deal with it quite differently.

Perrachione and Lum maintain a functional relationship simply by ignoring the fundamental ideological clash.

"If anyone’s relationship is based on politics, that’s not going to be very healthy or satisfying," Perrachione said.

Lum agreed, adding that ignoring political conversation is better than fighting.

"If your political views are really important to you, I wouldn’t recommend talking about politics with the other person," Lum said.

Weinberg freshmen Bryn Gauer and Eric Cannon also attributed the success of their politically diverse relationship to strategic avoidance of politics.

Gauer, a Democrat, plans to vote for Kerry, because she "can’t stand to see Bush in office for another four years."

But Gauer cautioned about the pitfalls of broaching the subject with her significant other.

"If you feel strongly about your views, avoid talking about politics," Gauer added. "It will just leave you feeling angry."

Cannon, a Republican, regularly attends College Republicans meetings and says he will vote for Bush in November.

"Casual discussions about politics can be OK, but we generally try not to let it escalate beyond that," he said.