Two gatherings of two groups with very different perspectives happened in Washington, D.C., last weekend. One celebrated the beginning of President Donald Trump’s term; the other railed against the result of the election and called for scrutiny of the Trump presidency. But attendees of both had something in common—a passion and a vision for the future.
Twin Cities PBS producer Ariel Tilson followed attendees of both events to capture their differing points of view on the election and what it means for the United States.
Research shows that Conservatives and Liberals have more disdain and distaste for one another than in the past. According to Stanford University sociology professor Robb Willer, a tool to bridge the divide between the nation’s two prevailing political ideologies is a practice called “moral reframing.”
When you’re talking with someone who disagrees with you politically, instead of simply explaining why you feel the way you do as a means of winning them over, appeal to their pre-existing values. For example, research shows people on the conservative end of the spectrum often value loyalty, patriotism and moral purity. People on the liberal end tend to value fairness, equality and protection from harm. Explaining your point as it relates to the moral compass of the person you’re talking to might make it more relatable to them and easier for them to fit into their ideology.
He also emphasized the importance of empathy and respect. Instead of cutting someone down because they don’t agree with you, be kind and patient. Take the time to listen and try to understand why they believe what they believe. It will be key to tying the country back together, he said to Stanford.
“Political animosities have reached a really dangerous level,” he said. “We have to develop new approaches to politics that can turn the temperature down on our political conflicts and start bringing people closer together. So much is at stake.”
Katie Moritz is Rewire’s senior editor and a Pisces who enjoys thrift stores, rock concerts and pho. She covered politics for a newspaper in Juneau, Alaska, before driving down to balmy Minnesota to help produce long-standing public affairs show “Almanac” at Twin Cities PBS. Now she works on this here website. Reach her via email at km[email protected] Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.