This past weekend I was coming out of the local supermarket when I crossed paths with a man wearing a t-shirt that said, "If you don't like Trump you probably won't like me."
I wonder how much we all do just that? I'm not speaking specifically about the president and his admirers, I mean how often do we assume things about somebody just because of their political party or their religion or their profession? I suspect we do it fairly often, and thereby miss out on two things.
1) We miss out on potential friendships. I have one friend in particular whose views are diametrically opposed to mine in so many ways. And she's not shy about expressing them in public. But she often does very kind things for other people. If I had written her off because of her politics I would never have come to know her!
2) We miss out on a chance for meaningful dialogue. If we all simply crawl into our own corners and surround ourselves with people who always agree with us, we eventually close down any chance at compromise. Democracy (and for that matter life itself) works best when we are willing to listen, really listen, to a range of views and understandings.
I didn't have the guts to walk up to the guy with the t-shirt and say something like, "Hey, don't make assumptions! I may really like you if I got to know you!" It may have been because he was six feet, six inches tall, and looked like he weighed in at least two-hundred-fifty pounds. Or it may have been because I was in a hurry and wanted to get my groceries home and out of the heat. But I suspect it was really because I haven't yet fully learned the lesson I'm trying to offer in this brief essay, and made the counter-assumption that he was probably right.
I've got a long way to go!