Initially aired on Pripo’s podcast “Relationships, Let’s Talk About It” in November of 2020. Found here.
Our country is rife with political conversations that tend to divide people. These exchanges can become more challenging when political differences occur in families and close relationships, where a divergence of ideals can strain connection. When the writer, teacher, and food activist Lee Warren recently witnessed one of her peers using aggressive language towards people of the other political spectrum, the experience spurred her to write Can We Love Our Political Enemies?, a piece where she curates an online conversation about having empathy for people who think differently.
Lee is the co-founder and managing partner of SOIL – the School of Integrated Living – an organization that teaches organic food production, regenerative systems, and community living. She is a sustainability professional whose experience spans over 25 years and whose interests include rural wisdom, sustainable economics, community, and conscious dying.
In this episode, Lee and I explore how we can connect with and love people who have political ideals different from ours. We discuss holding friends to a higher standard of empathy and illustrate how social media tends to exacerbate division among people. We describe what it’s like to experience political differences within families and close relationships and explain how fear and trauma can influence our politics. We also highlight the need to bring curiosity into our ideological differences and discuss how we can use non-violent communication to hold political dialog.
“If we want community, the thing to do is to build real, human coalitions between people who have different perspectives and values.” – Lee Warren
This week on Relationships! Let’s Talk About It:
- The experience that led Lee to write Can We Love Our Political Enemies?
- Holding up our friends to a higher standard of empathy
- How social media promotes division among people
- How Lee realized that she was stuck in an echo chamber and had to break off of it
- The difficulty of experiencing political differences within families
- Using non-violent communication and curiosity to explore contradictory political values
- How biology can influence our discourse
- The importance, and privilege, of choosing curiosity over hatred
- Our negativity bias and why human beings don’t look for commonality first
- Getting exaggerated, extreme stories about our “political enemies” and how the media exacerbates our fear of the Other
- Building coalitions in small towns and rural America
- Land-based wisdom and the value of listening to other peoples’ personal stories
- Building the muscle of curiosity and using self-soothing techniques in holding political conversations
Connect with Lee Warren: