Beyond us and them

Expect people to surprise you.

At CMU's February Face2Face event, I think this advice from student Marnie Klassen may be the most practical take away of the panel discussion on polarization in society.

Radio host Larry Updike and journalist Will Braun had lots of good stories that illustrated this point, but I think Marnie's exhortation, especially alongside her observation that no one is only one thing, are the best attitude shifts that could lead to a less heated tone of conversation between those who disagree.

I think this is cheerful Christian scientist (how's that for a bunch of paradox!) Katharine Hayhoe's approach as well. She is always looking for how she can find the values and interests of those who want to resist climate change, so she can demonstrate how ecological responsibility can fit into their priorities.

I'm often surprised when my friends with whom I share many perspectives suddenly don't agree with me on something. But this is so hopeful, because a) it shows we can survive a bit of disagreement and still love each other, and b) if we can disagree with those like us, maybe we have surprising areas of agreement with those we think are unlike us.

So, let's all be journalists: ask good questions, listen a lot, and tell good stories.

Who knows what could happen?


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