Starting the Conversation

For our nation to heal and become a more humane place, we had to embrace our enemies as well as our friends. The same is true the world over. True enduring peace - between countries, within a country, within a community, within a family - requires real reconciliation between former enemies and even between loved ones who have struggled with one another.
— Desmond Tutu

Step 1: Choose a value

We believe that as Americans there are values we share regardless of our political beliefs. A list of these values might include:

  • Respect
  • Kindness
  • Freedom of Religion
  • Cooperation
  • Tolerance
  • Education
  • Prudence
  • Safety
  • Responsibility
  • Compassion
  • Honesty
  • Stewardship
  • Generosity
  • Independence
  • Hard Work
  • Open Mindedness
  • Empathy

We invite you to choose one core value that you hold dear from this list or from your own personal list.

Step 2: Choose a person

Think of someone with whom you have a personal relationship. This could be a family member, a friend or a neighbor. The person you choose should be someone you know well enough to talk to and whom you know to have a different political viewpoint than your own.

Step 3: Think of an example

Once you've chosen a value and a person, make a list of one or two ways that person exemplifies that value in his or her life. Be honest and as specific as you can be.

Step 4: Share

Now the time has come to let this person know.

In an ideal world we would all share face to face or at least over the phone or Skype. If that's not possible or seems too intimidating, we suggest starting with email or a letter. Here are some words to help you get started:

Dear ,
Since the election I've been thinking of the values that I hold most dear as an American. One of them is _____. I wanted to let you know how you exemplify that value for me.
 
[Offer your example here.]
 
I know that we don't always see eye to eye when it comes to politics, but it's my hope that we can learn to see the ways that we are alike and to speak cordially about our differences. That's because I believe that our only way forward as a nation - the only way we can every achieve change and compromise - is by listening and talking to each other. 
 
I hope that this is the start of a conversation.
 
All my best,

Step 5: Submit your story

We hope you'll take the time to share your letter or story with our readers using our form