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The Right (and Left) Way to Disagree

A recent article in Men’s Health spotlighted the unlikely friendship of Colin Allred and Van Taylor. Colin Allred and Van Taylor have a lot in common. They’re both freshman lawmakers in the US House of Representatives. They’re both from Texas. They’re both used to being part of a team: Allred spent four seasons in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans; Taylor was in the Marines for nine years.

But there’s one major difference: Allred is a Democrat and Taylor a Republican. At a time when our government is intensely polarized, you’d have every reason to believe these two aren’t friends and don’t get along. But they are, and they do.

Men’s Health asked how they managed to remain friends. Here is some of their advice:

Allred: You could spend all your time focused on where you disagree with someone. You could have a good argument every day if you wanted to, but you wouldn’t get much done. And anytime you don’t have a relationship with somebody, it’s gonna be easier to demonize them.

Taylor: You want to focus on what you can work on together. You have to accept the arguments on the other side as valid when they are. At least understand what they are so that you are able to converse. Because if you don’t know anything about what the other side is talking about, you’re not going to be able to understand their perspective.

Taylor: No two people agree with each other all the time. If you don’t believe me, ask your significant other.

Allred: And there are important differences! And that’s what our elections are about. That’s democracy. That’s healthy. What isn’t healthy is when you assume that the person who disagrees with you is also a bad person. Because if you can’t disagree without thinking someone else is bad or evil, then you start pulling apart the seams of our country, and we have to be very careful about that.

Source:

Editors “The Right (and Left) Way to Disagree,” Men’s Health Magazine, (January-February, 2020), pp. 61-62.

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