For the past few years as I’ve gotten more and more involved in politics and surrounded myself in the political climate, I’ve had close friends and family members feel the need to reach out to me and let me know that I’m the exception. I’m the one conservative they’ll allow themselves to remain friends with and follow on social media.

These same people will post everywhere that if you’re pro-life, if you support Trump, etc, then you need to unfollow them or be unfollowed by them. And somehow, I’m supposed to sit by and watch them trash my beliefs and talk about me like I’m a racist bigot, because they let me know that I’m the one they don’t completely hate in private.

This is especially true after the recent abortion bill that passed in my home state of Georgia. The left is constantly allowed to post that pro-lifers are women haters, misogynistic, ignorant Bible thumpers, and more. But the second I post one pro-life post on Facebook, suddenly I’m too political and I’m pushing my boundaries for them.

Why do I need to be careful? Why am I only acceptable to leftist friends when I keep my mouth closed?

Our friendship is only okay when my beliefs are subtle and I refuse to fight back on their narratives. I scroll through post after post of them attacking my beliefs while respecting our differences, but I don’t get the same respect in return.

Telling someone that you tolerate their beliefs, except when they post about them or are strong ambassadors for them, isn’t tolerating them at all. It is bullying someone into silence using the smoke screen of friendship.

The kicker here, however, is that I don’t need your permission to be conservative. I weighed and researched all the same issues my leftists friends did, but I came to a different conclusion. I will not apologize for it or seek approval in anyone but myself. No, I will not be silenced in fear of you cutting ties. Someone who cuts ties over politics isn’t worth my time.

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I’m a strong conservative woman. While that’s not all I am, it might cause some tension and disagreements sometimes. I have the utmost respect for my friends on opposite sides of the aisle that debate with me and try to understand the opposing side. Liberals can be some of your best friends, but not if they make you feel like you need to apologize every time you speak up about what you believe — especially on social media.

You are not an awful person for being conservative. No, you are not the “exception” to conservatives. You are a human being with different opinions that should never feel like you need to be silenced because someone refuses to see your worth outside of the political arena.

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Danielle E