I have not, as of yet, stopped being friends with a person just because they share different political views from myself. There have some situations where I felt uncomfortable in a friendship, and perhaps didn't talk with them for a period of time to calm my temper, but never have I ended up leaving a friendship because of differences in political views. I find that speaking calmly and rationally about issues makes me understand more clearly where other people are coming from, and for that reason, I enjoy hearing about people's opinions that are different from my own.
This fact is of course helped by me being an Independent. To be honest -- as I've said numerous times before -- the whole liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republic battle is pointless. If anything, they are the ones tearing apart our nation together, not the ideals that the two hold. I feel that there is a compromise on every major political issue out there, from abortion to gay marriage to the health care debate (that I have admittedly not been following). If we could only reach across the aisle and talk through our issues, not getting offended when people say something we don't agree with, then we might actually get somewhere.
I illustrate this point. Just a year and a half ago, I was the most conservative Christian Republican you can imagine. I was a creationist. I was pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and staunchly in favor of John McCain for the presidency. Now, at fifteen, there are only two of those views I still hold and those are the facts that I am a Christian and a creationist. Everything else has been -- and will still be -- changing. I am no longer the naive Republican. In some ways, I am still naive and ignorant about many things in the world, but I realize that. I realize that there are things I need to learn more about, things that I don't have the whole story on. I also realize that Republicans and Democrats both have views on these issues, and both of them have good points and bad points.
That is exactly why I am an Independent. Not only do I think that the polarization in the government is tearing our country apart at the seams, but that it can be changed if people would just listen to what other people have to say. Republicans have pertinent words to say about abortion, homosexuality, religion, and health care, if we would just listen. Democrats have pertinent words to say about abortion, homosexuality, religion and health care, if we would just listen. If we would just listen to each other and find out a compromise, then maybe our country wouldn't be losing respect everywhere.
What did George Washington and the other 55 delegates do at the Constitutional Convention when they disagreed? They didn't force the other side to acquiesce to their demands. No, they compromised. When the larger states like Virginia wanted Congress representatives according to population, and the smaller states wanted everyone to be equal, what did they do? They penned the Great Compromise: the House of Representatives has representatives according to population, while the Senate has equal representatives for each state. Neither of them got their way -- not entirely -- but they got what they wanted, didn't they?
Take the Three-Fifths Compromise as well. While the very idea of something like that actually being in our Constitution at one point makes me sick, they compromised on that issue. Neither of them made the other side agree to their demands, instead compromising and creating a solution that makes everyone happy.
Compromise worked back then, so who's to say it won't work now? Nothing. It would work, but people are so locked into their views that they can't bother looking outside their own little box. I am guilty of that, but I am trying as hard as I can to see other peoples' viewpoints. That is what I feel being an Independent allows me to do: to become an observer, an outsider, reading and hearing about the two parties and their viewpoints and forming my own, independent opinion.
This is just a very long winded way of saying that: no, I have never stopped being friends with a person just because they have different political views than I do, and I probably never will. As a writer, after all, I relish in the idea of seeing all sides of an issue and putting my own spin on it. The only possible way I would stop being friends with a person because of their political views would be if they were an unashamed racist, for example, or if they supported something heinous like partial-birth abortion.