Take "the Other" to lunch
There's an angry divisive tension in the air that threatens to make modern politics impossible. Elizabeth Lesser explores the two sides of human nature within us (call them "the mystic" and "the warrior”) that can be harnessed to elevate the way we treat each other. She shares a simple way to begin real dialogue -- by going to lunch with someone who doesn't agree with you, and asking them three questions to find out what's really in their hearts.
Here is a clip from the transcript:
"I'm deeply disturbed by the ways in which all of our cultures are demonizing "the Other" by the voice we're giving to the most divisive among us. Listen to these titles of some of the bestselling books from both sides of the political divide here in the U.S. "Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder," "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot," "Pinheads and Patriots," "Arguing With Idiots."They're supposedly tongue-in-cheek, but they're actually dangerous. Now here's a title that may sound familiar, but whose author may surprise you: "Four-and-a-Half-Years of StruggleAgainst Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice." Who wrote that? That was Adolf Hitler's first title for "Mein Kampf" -- "My Struggle" -- the book that launched the Nazi party. The worst eras in human history, whether in Cambodia or Germany or Rwanda, they start like this, with negative other-izing. And then they morph into violent extremism.
This is why I'm launching a new initiative. And it's to help all of us, myself included, to counteract the tendency to "otherize." And I realize we're all busy people, so don't worry, you can do this on a lunch break. I'm calling my initiative, "Take the Other to Lunch." If you are a Republican, you can take a Democrat to lunch, or if you're a Democrat, think of it as taking a Republican to lunch. Now if the idea of taking any of these people to lunch makes you lose your appetite, I suggest you start more local, because there is no shortage of the Other right in your own neighborhood. Maybe that person who worships at the mosque, or the church or the synagogue, down the street. Or someone from the other side of the abortion conflict. Or maybe your brother-in-law who doesn't believe in global warming. Anyone whose lifestyle may frighten you, or whose point of view makes smoke come out of your ears."