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Ways you could help lessen division in the world

America is more divided these days than it has been for many decades. My own family hasn't been immune to this division either; in fact, it's been even further complicated since we immigrated from China, a nation that has been under fire from all over the political spectrum in the US. I've dealt with people on both the left and the right in my own family AND family members who strongly oppose the Chinese government and those who are openly sympathetic to it despite being American citizens for decades! It really makes the political compass and the division it maps look quite tame and naive, especially when you add that latter dimension on top of it.

These are just some of my thoughts on what I could do to contribute to lessening the divide, not only in America but in the world. Some I practice regularly, others are just ideas I've brainstormed right then and there (so there's no guarantee they might work.)

    1. Adopt a Scout Mindset

    Focus on understanding the opposite side's ideas as well as further understanding why you have the ideas or values you currently do. Here's a TED Talk on it:

    2. Learn to call out BS

    This is something that is a bit difficult to pull off but we all need to be vigilant about, esp if you're adopting the Scout Mindset from #1. Basically, there's a lot of misinformation out there as not everyone knows everything about the world and it's very possible that a good percentage of what you currently think is true really isn't. That probably doesn't apply to things like math, logic, or basic science but do you think everything that you were told about, say, the Civil War or the American Revolution is 100% true? There's plenty of records about it and I have no doubt that most of it is true but you weren't there to experience any of it.

    Plenty of people probably spread information that they think is true but really isn't and I don't blame them. It's the ones who purposely spread misinformation who are the biggest culprits here. Most of it may come from authoritarian governments that are desperately trying to hold onto power though they will mix truths in in their messages to make it seem like they're being completely truthful. Learn to recognize that just because someone is telling the truth one time that it doesn't mean they're 100% trustworthy.

    And learn to call out BS.

    3. Get out of your political bubble, esp online and social media

    Try to get your news from a source that aggregates news from all over the political spectrum like Ground News rather than relying on your social media feeds which keep feeding you news after news that exacerbates your own political biases. Or better yet, limit the amount of time you spend on social media in the first place (at least mainstream sites, not this one.)

    4. If you want to hear the perspectives of a different political ideology, find a source that speaks it in a rational rather than emotional way.

    I won't name names but there are plenty of people who have differing political beliefs than mine who speak in a very loud, crass, and "in your face" way and will even openly insult those who don't share their beliefs. And there are also those who are more composed and rational. Try to stick with the latter if you have an open mind and want to learn about a different political ideology. If you go with the former, you're more likely to be put off by it, even further exacerbating the overall division in the world.

    5. Identify with your own values rather than towing the line of any political ideology

    There really isn't any political ideology out there in the world that's a perfect match for everything I believe in (not to mention that my beliefs also change over time.) It's possible that some ideologies are a better match for your beliefs than others and some people will end up gravitating to those ideologies and "conform" to them by adjusting all of their own beliefs to fit it. This is what I've been told is called "towing the line" and although a lot of people don't consciously choose to do this but it happens to many. Over time, they identify more and more with that political ideology and anyone who doesn't completely fit with that line is thought of as an outside or worse. A good rule of thumb is that if you (or anyone) identifies themselves as I'm a <insert political party here>, they've probably succumbed to this to some degree.

    You may have to tread a fine line to "avoid talking politics" and thus offending friends and family here, especially those who have chosen to tow the line of their favorite political ideology and there's a 1-10% or greater chance your particular belief might be in conflict. It's generally better to only share this information when asked rather than volunteering every one of your beliefs unless you're pretty sure the person you're volunteering them to won't care too much.

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