It was during an English lesson that the teacher called the previous American president “Lord of the Pig.” When 17-year-old Wouter (not his real name) responded that he is a fan of Trump, she thought that was very strange. And that was not the only time he felt that he could not be quite free to express his opinion as an FVD supporter.
He‘s not the only one. In a questionnaire of more than 6000 young people between 13 and 19 years of age, over 1000 young people reported having had negative experiences because of their political preference. That ranges from being scolded on social media, being attacked by the whole class and teacher, quarrel at home and even broken friendships.
CCEit Stories spoke to two ‘right-wing‘ and two ‘left-wing‘ young people about the hatred they get because of their political preference:
Many of the young people who did their stories to Stories want to remain anonymous. Sometimes because they’re really afraid of losing friends. Like Boris (not his real name) of 19, who fears to lose a good friend.
Boris intends to vote for a progressive party, but his friend, on the other hand, has been trying to persuade him to vote for the Forum for Democracy for months. “He despises everything that is left now, argues with me all the time.”
Boris would rather stop talking to his friend about politics at all, but he cannot, because he talks about coronameasures all the time. “I really feel that this will destroy our friendship.”
No more friends
That‘s what happened to Jesse from 18. Like Boris this year, he has been able to vote for the first time on D66 because of their views on racism and IHBTI-emancipation. But in the village where he grew up and still lives, he seems to be the only one, says Jesse.
“Everyone is here for Forum or the PVV and they have homophobic views in my view. Also from what I saw in the apps that came in the media.” So Jesse decided that he didn’t want to be friends anymore, after a couple of discussions about it, they arrived with a trunk full of FVD posters to hang everywhere. Now all he has is friends from the city, from Leeuwarden.
Several researchers also see the struggle or even hatred between people with different political preferences. Whether it increases, of which there are no concrete figures, but they also see that it plays.
For example, political scientist Eelco Harteveld investigated what feelings supporters of political parties cherish in relation to supporters of other parties. It was noticed that PVV‘ers and FVD’ers Groenlinks supporters give an extremely low score: 23 degrees. Conversely, the GreenLeft judges the right-wing voters even colder.
According to Harteveld, US Republicans and Democrats – where polarization is also very strong – place each other around 30 degrees on the political thermometer.
From research into polarization as well as from the questionnaire and conversations of Stories, the really intense discussions seem to focus on cultural themes, such as immigration, (gender) identity and issues such as the climate.
Hate on TikTok
It is not worse for young people, but the struggle seems to be more intense in them because they are often attracted to parties with a progressive profile such as the Green Left or the right-populist parties such as the PVV, and less to middle parties or more traditional Left parties.
Many young people are involved in discussion, because it is mainly conducted on social media. That also notes Linda, who makes videos on TikTok about why she votes for FvD, a taboo for (young) women, she says.
She‘s worried, “the worst thing I find when left-wing Tiktokkers call to stop talking to people who vote for Forum.” She also has girlfriends who vote GroenLinks and she would rather have ‘left-wing‘ and ‘right-wing‘ young people continue to talk to each other. “And that you immerse yourself in each other’s views, that‘s what I’m trying to do.”