A dialogue between two APU students that find themselves on opposite ends of the political spectrum

Jasmine Campos and Rose Hoos both believe that the government has a job to protect the least among us. However, they don’t agree on how they think the government should do so. Despite having divergent political opinions, they have managed to maintain their friendship and turn their disagreements into a meaningful discussion — something that they hope others will be able to do in the midst of a tumultuous political season.

Where they stand

Jasmine is the news editor of Zu News and a current junior political science, journalism and honors humanities major at Azusa Pacific. She is also politically conservative. She believes in small government, pro-life, lower taxes, supporting small businesses and cares about freedom of speech, along with many other things. She values the essence of freedom. To her, what is most important is an individual’s ability to do what they want as long as it is not hurting anyone else or taking away their freedoms that are enshrined in the Constitution.

Rose is a staff writer for Zu News. She is a junior at Azusa Pacific studying history and journalism. She tends to be politically progressive, but her focus is on programs that work on a local scale. She favors government regulations to moderate the actions of large corporations and government funding for local outreach programs. She also cares deeply for the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration reform, the issue of climate change and aid for those facing homelessness and mental health crisis.

Jasmine: About a year and a half ago, Rose and I were in a political science class about comparative politics around the world. We bonded because Rose sat behind me, and I noticed stickers that she had on her computer. Two caught my eye. Hamilton and Cinderella. I commented on how much I liked them, and the rest is history.

What we soon learned, being in a political science class, was that our ideas of what the best role for government was very different. Though I am sure both of us thought nothing of it at the time, it would soon turn out that Rose was going to become a part of Zu Media, our student media outlet. We would also end up taking a political communications class as well.  

From the moment we sat in that class, we could not stop talking about everything from Gavin Newsom to Donald Trump. We disagreed on almost every topic yet loved talking to one another. We started getting coffee together and having phone conversations about the current events and how our lives were going. 

This, of course, has not changed as election season is starting, and politics are becoming more divisive than ever. Rose and I have not only remained friends but have strengthened our friendship over our endless discourse, understanding and love for one another. 

Rose: Jasmine and I rarely ever agree about the way to solve political problems. We have had quite a few long conversations arguing both sides. There are plenty of times we ended up slightly frustrated and at a loss for what to even say to the other. However, we never left the conversation angry; we always agreed to disagree and worked it out. 

This friendship means the world to us. That is all, plain and simple. Jasmine has talked me through panic attacks, we read each other’s writing and we love and support each other’s careers. We make the other a better writer, creator and listener. I would not even be a journalism major, living a life I love, without Jasmine. 

The election is a highly polarizing time, and it is right near major holidays that we spend with family and friends that might have different views from our own. Don’t give up those relationships! Enjoy them! Jasmine and I are proof that this is possible. It might be difficult to have these conversations, but we can’t give up on each other just because we’re uncomfortable. 

Our Friendship 

R: Jasmine and I are friends first. I love Jasmine’s passion for the political realm and admire her ambition and drive, but I also know the coffee she likes, understand her quick, witty sense of humor and that we both LOVE the musical Hamilton. 

The bottom line is we have mutual respect for one another. Jasmine knows why I tend to be progressive and the reasoning behind it because she has listened to me time and time again. I know why Jasmine favors conservative values. It is not because she hates or fears immigrants or is a racist or homophobic. She simply believes in the principles of small government and passionately believes in everyone’s right to be free. 

J: Rose and I simply bonded over a shared interest in Hamilton and movies. We have a love for the simpler things in life. When Rose joined ZU Media, I was trying to convince her to become a journalism major. As we started talking about what her future looked like, slowly but surely we both began to open up about other things.

Favorite movies turned into passions. Journalism turned into a career. Future careers turned into family. Then, we could not stop talking. From there, politics was just second-hand information. Sure we disagreed, but we knew each other on a personal level that just mattered more. 

How we do it

J: We agree on seeing the best in one another. While everything is so highly polarized these days, Rose and I have never entered a conversation with the belief that the other has the worst intention at heart. 

Every question is a genuine curiosity about what the other believes. Every answer is with intent not to convince but to explain. By realizing that we do not see the other as wishing to destroy the lives of half the population, we are able to see beyond the color we vote. 

We both believe that the government has a job to protect the least among us, but we just think that it should help others in different ways. 

R: Jasmine is right! We both have a passion for government and politics. We talk about it when it intersects with our lives and common interests, but we have never seen the other as an opponent. We explain to the other why we believe what we do, present our evidence and facts and listen intently to what the other has to say. 

Politics is not black and white and not all the answers have been found. Sometimes, it is just a matter of trial and error. What works for one area of the country might not work in others, but we still need to have a base level of government that everyone is accountable to. Things get complicated, but that is never a reason to hate each other.

Our vision for the future

J: Personally, I think it would take a whole lot of people, like us, who are willing to engage in serious dialogue with good intentions to change. As of right now, I truly do not see how the United States will avoid an eventual national divorce. We have stopped seeing one another as people and just see opposition. With everything going on at the national scale right now, I do not have super bright hopes about the future. 

R: I agree. It is really hard to be a political optimist right now. 

With social media, separate newspapers and tv broadcasts for people with differing opinions, it is really easy to believe whatever you are told about the other side. While sometimes I disagree with the actions of politicians that are more conservative, that is not a reflection on Jasmine or anyone else with a conservative opinion. 

Unless we can recognize this and have a conversation, we will just keep yelling at each other instead of realizing that we can’t do anything without each other. This country was designed to work with the collaboration of all its people in choosing those who lead them. If we can’t have a conversation, we cannot collaborate and nothing will get done. 

If we choose to wait until our party gets control of the whole country and ignore the other side instead of working together, the government will pass legislation that will get repealed when our country swings the other way. This is no way to run a nation. 

Do we have any advice?

J:  I think the first thing is to go in with good intentions. Second, actually seek to understand people on the other side of the aisle. Without either of these, you will inevitably fail. If you assume the worst in everyone, it will be significantly harder to see the good in them. If you do not genuinely seek to understand those you disagree with, you will both fail to strengthen your position and continue to live in an echo chamber. 

We all think we are going about making the world a better place the right way. We assume we have the right ideals and plans to do the most good for the most people. We just need to remember that the other side thinks they are doing it the right way too. Instead of screaming at one another, we need to remember that we all bleed the same color, whether we vote red or blue.  

R: If you have someone, family or friend, that has a different political viewpoint than you there is hope! Don’t give up the love that you have cultivated in that relationship because you disagree. Make time to talk about politics and explain your perspectives. Remember to listen to their opinions but also to cultivate your relationship outside of politics. Take time with them to have coffee dates, long conversations and talk about what’s really important in life. 

Echo chambers are dangerous things, and social media makes it so easy to ignore everything you disagree with. Don’t fall for it! Subscribe to a conservative and a progressive newspaper (I recommend the New York Times and Wall Street Journal because they are good publications and have student discounts), listen to the perspectives of others and be willing to look at your own beliefs in a new way. 

We all want a good life for ourselves and our future. We all think we have the right answer, but we all need each other, always.