Bipartisanship isn’t for wimps, after all

Second, each of us must aspire to what the Dalai Lama calls “warmheartedness” toward those with whom we disagree. This might sound squishy, but it is actually tough and practical advice. As he has stated, “I defeat my enemies when I make them my friends.” He is not advocating surrender to the views of those with whom we disagree. Liberals should be liberals and conservatives should be conservatives. But our duty is to be respectful, fair and friendly to all, even those with whom we have great differences.

Difficult? Sure. The Dalai Lama would be the first to note that warmheartedness is for the strong and not the weak. But it is advice he has taken himself, leading a poor and oppressed Tibetan minority community into exile in the face of naked Chinese aggression. According to Pico Iyer, an author who has known him for more than three decades, he begins each day with earnest prayers for China and its people, and even now continues to search for common ground with a nation that sees him as an enemy.

Rejecting polarization is more than self-improvement; it is an exercise in self-respect. Perhaps you, like me, are close to people who differ in their ideology. When I hear fellow conservatives say that liberals are stupid or evil, I can’t help but remember that they’re talking about my friends and family, and I take that personally.

Next time someone on your side insults people on the other side, think of someone on that side whom you love and respect. You have just been insulted.