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Let’s play a game for a moment.  Pick a controversial issue.  Any issue.  Try picking something that are pretty adamant about.

Now imagine being on the other side of that issue.  After you get past the initial feelings of anger or frustration or whatever, go past that to something deeper.

Think about the argument of this opposing position.  Get past the memes and one liners that you are used to seeing.  Start to think about what supporters of this position are actually arguing for.

Think through how you could come to a conclusion that makes sense. This is important, because I can guarantee that people come to their conclusions for reasons that make sense to them.  When we can start to see how the opposing side comes to their conclusions, it changes the way we interact.  We start to discover that we’re not as far separated as we thought.  In many cases we even discover that there is overlap and similarities in what we both want.  Often, the difference come out in how we get there.

This is a good exercise, but it’s not easy.  It’s never easy to let go of what we think is the only logical and reasonable way to look at any issue and consider an alternative.  That’s doesn’t mean you have to agree with the decision or even like it.  But I know that you’ll come away with a little more understanding of your opposition – and maybe even see the humanity in them.