There are lots of things to think about.

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Liberals and Conservatives Need to Talk to Each Other!

Why can’t Liberals and Conservative talk to each other?

Does this happen in your family?  With your friends?  When two people from opposite sides of the political spectrum start to have a political discussion it either goes out of control, or gets shut down. (“Let’s change the subject.  I don’t want any talk about politics.”)

Two people arguing.

Political arguments can make you tear your hair out.

The two sides stay completely opposed, stuck, no improvement gets made on the problems which are allowed to fester.

When a conversation does take place the interactions often get tangled, then hostile, often the subject is dropped.

Both sides believe that they have the truth.

What doesn’t happen is a chance to explore the truth of the other side.

To increase the horizons of the discussion.

To recognize that each view has a piece of the truth.

To recognize that some problems can be addressed, but not if the other side or the other view is vilified.

Start with Listening to start a conversation

First: Listen to each other. Both have to be willing to listen and to hear the experience of the other, to recognize that the experience is valid.

What does listening well mean?  Listening well means that you can describe the point of view of the other person in your own words.

Listening may not be an easy exercise. We are often revved up to tell our own side, or to criticize the point of view of the other.

We are thinking about what we want to say rather than listening to the other person. See Here for ways to improve listening in challenging situations.

Both persons also have to be willing to share their experiences, with specific examples, expressing feelings and thoughts about that.

Expressing our own experience may also be difficult. It is easy to give one impassioned example, but to give a series of these, in a calm way, without criticism of the other person’s experience, is also difficult.  Go Here for tips on effective expression of your thoughts and feelings and experiences.

The Question is “How?”

A young man, reaching to shake hands

Reaching out to people who disagree can help with problem solving.

The second step is moving to the question How?

Given that some problems have been identified, how do you address these problems?

Start with the recognition that these issues do not have to be roadblocks.  These are problems to be solved.

The problems are valid.  They cause real problems for real people.

Problem solving also requires us to accept that a solution will not work perfectly. But improvement can be made.

Go Here and Here for powerful problem solving techniques.

Let’s open a dialogue!!


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If you want to live long and happy, read this, then watch “Slomo.”

What is better, Material wealth and “goodies” or the Freedom to do what you want?

Dr. John Kitchin appeared to have it all. He had a successful career as a neurologist, with a large beautiful home, a Ferrari in the garage, and esteem from his colleagues.

As he was entering his 30’s and starting this successful career, he noticed an older man choosing a variety of food in the cafeteria. He appeared to be energetic and in good health. Dr. Kitchen asked this gentleman what advice he would give to a young man starting out in a career who would like to reach a healthy old age just like him. The man said “Do what you want to do!”

Dr. Kitchin went on to build his successful career, but realized that he was doing the work that gave him more and more material goodies, but perhaps not daily joy and pleasure. He had the guts to leave his practice, consolidate his wealth, buy a studio apartment on the Pacific Coast Beach in California.

He now spends his days slowly rollarblading along the boardwalk, balancing and maneuvering from side to side to produce the optimal neurological benefits. (He was a neurologist, remember, so he knew what he was doing.) Most people seeing him would assume he was a beach bum, or perhaps had inherited wealth. but he is really a skilled professional man, doing what he wants to do.

For your retirement, What do you want to do? This is your chance.  Challenge:  Write down five to ten things that you want to do.  Choose one to start.  Don’t ask “When can you do it?” ask “How can you do it?”

(You can get more information about the documentary Slomo produced by Josh Izenberg at It was discussed in the March 31, 2014 Opinion Pages in the New York Times.