Empathy Intervention — Jacob Hazeltine

This weekend, I went camping with some friends. I felt it would be good to get away from all the noise going on in todays world. However, my friends and I often have very different political views. Topics such as the migrant caravan, gun control related to the Pittsburgh shooting, and threats to democracy following the bomb scares to multiple prominent democratic figures soon came up. While we butted heads on many of these issues, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take a step back and look at these issues from my friends perspectives. I started by taking a look at where and how they were raised. Many of them grew up in primarily white upper class neighborhoods. Their parents owned guns and were supporters of conservative ideals. They had been imprinted upon by their parents beliefs in much the same way I was. Now by no means do I see myself as left or right, conservative or liberal, democrat or republican, but I am in no position to judge someone if they choose to aline themselves with one of these ideals. In todays hyper polarized political climate, people tend to side with a party, instead of ideas. I too had fallen victim to this when I found myself disagreeing with points that my friends made for the sake of disagreeing. I put no thought into actually thinking about them because I was “supposed” to disagree. However, I have learned that we have so much to learn from each other, and that listening with the intention of learning from the other side can have so many benefits. I encourage all of you to start getting new from outlets that typically sway in the other political direction, educate yourself on partisan topics, and most importantly, give a platform to speak to those who you oppose.

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