Give others the opportunity to surprise us
On the latest episode of Will Schwalbe's podcast "But That's Another Story," African American NPR reporter Sam Sanders talked about an encounter he had with with a Trump supporter that, initially, was hostile. But when he allowed the conversation to continue, the Trump supporter allowed himself to go beyond the campaign rhetoric and be more vulnerable and open. As the conversation continued, Sanders felt the Trump supporter came to view Sanders in a different light and, after about 20 minutes, the Trump supporter invited Sanders into his home for a beer.
"Those moments [of unexpected empathy and listening and understanding] can happen so much more often when we allow people to surprise us. We are in this really heated political climate right now where people feel the need, on every single side of the aisle, to stifle speech that disagrees with them. And it feels good to do that, but that is not letting people surprise you. And sometimes, the point of civil discourse is not just to have all of it to be civil. What if the point of it is to let people get the uncivil stuff out of the way so we can get to some newer and deeper realities."