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Understanding "The Other"

I'm not a TV watcher. I don't own a television and am exposed to very little media. My knowledge of the current NFL standings is laughable.

And yet, yesterday I was pulled into the fray of TakeAKneeGate simply by visiting Facebook off and on. Tempers were at a fever pitch, and ugly words were being used by those both in support of the anthem public protests and those opposed to it. Instead of posting a few words, people were crafting fiery responses several paragraphs long. Nearly everything I read was from an either-or, black-or-white perspective. I'm right; "they" are wrong. No middle ground. No discussion. No understanding or even willingness to understand how truly painful it is for those holding the alternative view.

Empathy is in decline in our world. This critical skill -- understanding another person's condition from their perspective by placing yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling -- has been subjugated in favor of rigid righteousness. We are fracturing under the weight of our own individuality. The "United" part of the United States of America is becoming harder and harder to find.

I don't know what the right answers are in this increasingly-partisan climate. I have personal opinions about the critical issues facing our society but I am choosing to keep them private. However, I do know that I can and do help in the best way I can: by educating people on the importance of mindful productivity and how empathy is improved through the practices I share.