Finding Common Ground

Listening. It’s something no one teaches us. Sure, we hear people speak. But do we listen to what they’re saying? Do we understand where they’re at, where they want to go? Not nearly enough. Maybe that’s why we spend so much time vilifying each other — looking at our neighbors as Democrat or Republican, right or wrong, “one of us” or “the enemy.” 

When did we stop finding common ground with each other?I’m inspired by friendships forged by people on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Take Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill. The great Republican president rarely agreed with the Democratic speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. On anything. But come 6 p.m., they put aside their differences, stopped talking about politics and shared a few drinks. 

Then there are the late U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Could there be a more politically incompatible pair than the arch conservative and feminist icon? Perhaps. But this odd couple bonded over opera, then brought their spouses into the fold as they traveled the globe. The couples even had a standing double date on New Year’s Eve.

If they can do it, so can we. I’d like to listen to your story. Let’s begin finding our common ground today.