Much more important than what we think and say, how we think and say it divides us. The polarization we hear so much about is a matter both of substance and attitude.

I am trying to take in commentary and analysis from different points of view, because it is challenging in an important way to hear people express opinions that contradict mine. The really challenging part, though, is choosing expressions of opposing viewpoints that take mine seriously and treat it respectfully. So much of our editorializing relies on tone.

The takeaway from the frustration that results is that 1) I don’t ever want the people I disagree with to feel ridiculed or disparaged when I talk to them; I need to watch my tone. And 2) there is limited value in seeking out commentary that makes me feel ridiculed or disparaged. If the tone upsets me, I can switch it off.

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