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  • Jerry Phillips

How Do You Talk To Someone Who Thinks Differently Than You?

I have held back on writing of politics and I will only do so this one time. Your politics are your choice, and I will not pretend to be an expert and tell you whether I believe you are right or wrong.

I recently attended a meeting with a non-profit I support outlining the work we will be doing in 2021. It’s an aggressive agenda, working with our national representatives, as their constituents, to support legislation that ends violence. The focus is to end violence both internationally and nationally. I fully support the agenda and the organization.

The organization is nonpartisan, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t supported by people who think very differently than I do. I have never seen the Republicans or the Democrats as my enemy. In a very polarized country today, I’m not sure I can say that about many people anymore.

How do you relate to someone who thinks differently than you do? I have friends who are far left and far right. In some cases, I choose not to talk to them about politics. When I get into a conversation with someone, I work to find things we can agree on. Maybe it’s sports, or business, or other nonpolitical things. Finding common ground is the only way to make progress. One side shouting at the other is not functional. I’ve not seen a social media post yet that changes someone from the left to the right or vice versa. Frankly, it wears me out.

I believe we all need each other. The progressives bring us fresh ideas and work for the common good of all. The conservatives make certain that we follow an evolutionary path, not a revolutionary path. Right now, there seems to be a lot of fear of each other’s agenda. The way to overcome fear is to talk. To find common ground. Compromise is not a bad thing.

In business we talk about the need for diversity. Not just diversity of ethnicity, but diversity of culture and of thought. Yet in politics we do not accept any ideas that are not our own. This is a disconnect of epic proportions. Let’s do what is best for our country, our families, and our businesses.

We are not for Names, nor Men, nor Titles of Government, nor are we for this Party, nor against the other, because of its Name and Pretense; but we are for Justice and Mercy, and Truth and Peace, and true Freedom, that these may be exalted in our Nation. --Edward Burrough, 1634-1663

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