Atticus Finch taught his daughter, Scout, that you never really know a man until you see things from his point of view. Step into his shoes and walk around in them.
I like this advice and I've been learning to use it in all sorts of ways. One of them is to listen to the politician I'm 'rooting' for and pretend the other guy is saying those exact words and in that exact same manner. How do I feel about it now?
For instance, last night's performance by our Vice President, Joe Biden. How would you feel if those antics had come from the other guy? Creeped out? Furious? Enthralled? Elated? Thrilled to the tips of your toes? Pissed? Ambivalent?
How about when Romney said he likes Big Bird but he'll cut PBS funding? What if President Obama had said that? Would you have cared? Made up an excuse?
I've been surprised at this phenomenon in myself and others. As far as politics, I've had specific and what I consider very serious issues with our President's actions. In bringing them up, some of my good friends have worked furiously in the conversation to defend them and him. I've decided that if President Obama (or whoever you're rooting for) were to carpet-bomb Louisianna, a good number of people would rush to his defense. Heaven help Louisianna on that day. I'm quite certain that if George W. Bush had done the exact same thing, these very same people would be screaming screaming screaming, demanding justice.
So, as Atticus said to Scout, walk around in the guy's shoes. If you like that guy and want to understand how you feel about his shoes... put them on the other guy. How do you feel now?
Better yet what if what you, yourself, are saying RIGHT NOW were being said by your opponent? How would those shoes look then?