Tinder is a modern wonder. No longer do you have to go out into the cold dark night and spend hours hovering around the bar scanning the room until you find someone sending you fuck me eyes only to realize they were actually gazing at the hot piece of ass behind you. Now all you have to do is wait for the magical match screen to appear as you swipe comfortably from the safety of your pajamas and couch while Netflix hums in the background. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Even though someone liked you enough to swipe right, they might not like you enough to actually send a message or respond after you worked up the courage to send a carefully crafted message you wasted minutes of your life on.
I’ve been noticing a trend on people’s profiles. On tinder, you have limited characters available so you have to make each one count. Recently, more and more people are using their limited profile space to indicate their political views and vehemently state that those of the opposing view are not welcome and should swipe left. It’s been said many times that agreeing on politics will make or break a relationship so this isn’t really a surprise.
What’s been on my mind is how perfect of a snapshot this is of our current political climate. The divide is growing wider with no room in the middle for moderation. Owning a gun makes you a crazy gun nut no matter what your view on gun regulation and places you on the right earning you a hard left swipe. Likewise, support for LGTBQ rights makes you a snowflake social justice warrior and earns the left swipe from the right. The result is us versus them with little to no contact between the two sides besides all out brawls on social media. The winner is determined by upvotes and likes. You no longer have to think for yourself because values come in predetermined packages like services from a cable company. No one uses a landline anymore but for some reason, it has to be bundled in with the internet and cable TV you need to ensure the other side’s news is fake.
At this point, I’m supposed to step off my soapbox and provide a solution because anyone can prattle on about obvious political problems. Fear rules the religious right whose leaders tell them they will burn in hell if they support women’s reproductive rights or gay marriage. I know because I spent the first 20 years of my life as a born again believer. I was so scared shitless of hell I had recurring dreams about ending up there even though I was more or less a perfect child. Leaving the church was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It only happened because I left the geographical region of the bible belt and met people from other parts of the world. It’s much harder to condemn people to a fiery forever when they are your friend.
So there’s the impossible solution. I’m as guilty as the next person. My time is spent at poly events, kink parties, and open mic nights saturated with liberal hipsters who march with one another then drink micro craft beer together as they lament the closed mindedness of those on the other side of the divide so wide now we rarely even cross it to make it to the occasional family gathering.
I’m not suggesting we should all start dating people with polar opposite political beliefs. However, politics aren’t supposed to be black and white, and perhaps the occasional friendly gesture to someone on the other side might change more minds.