Perhaps understanding one’s audience is critical to this prescription. However I find it difficult to justify that those in the middle are without their own extreme and personal biases — just because they may be politically open, it does not necessarily mean they are willing to compromise on every point. One’s own perception of the world is based on one’s own beliefs which essentially become the biases through which a personal reality is built. It may be challenging to accept that everyone last one of us is partial to his or her own experiences. This is how we learn and grow: We build upon our reactions to the knowledge to which we have thus far been exposed. I believe Andrew is saying we could be a bit more understanding of the fact that everyone has a point-of-view (however flawed in our own personal opinions) that is driven by the fear of losing the balance of his or her experiences.
Does this mean that a person cannot change his point-of-view? Often times, life changes it for us. Fear comes from the perception that what those who craft laws and policies want is for change to be external of the individual’s life circumstances. The fear of having no say in what governs us is common to everyone. I think many of us forget that the president operates as just one branch of the federal government because we want to identify with this singular individual as a reflection of us. (How can we identify with a body of individuals such as Congress or the Supreme Court?) It’s easy to be fearful of power, especially if he or she who holds it has a seemingly different set of experiences from our personal selves. How do we identify with those who operate so far from our own biases? This election cycle has exposed us as a people so uncomfortably. People do not want to know that their friends and neighbors support the biases they so adamantly oppose. Thinking that people you truly care about have beliefs that counter your very own is highly troubling for the average citizen. By considering that bias exists in us all, we can begin to listen to one another and search for common and productive ground on which we all can stand. Until that happens, we are falling off a societal cliff.