On the eve of Election 2012, let's take a deep breath and remember that our differences should not overwhelm the fact that we're all loyal and proud Americans. Our partisan rancor has gotten so miserably out of control, it's worth asking ourselves whether this is how we want to be in the world.
No wonder Congress is gridlocked and can't get anything done -- they are, after all, representing us.
So here are a couple of things to contemplate.
1. The world will not end if the other guy gets elected.
2. Neither side has all the answers, but we should listen to each other with open minds (even if open only a tiny crack) to figure out how we can work together to solve our country's many pressing problems.
3. Try not to hate politicians of the other party; respect their world view as being as valid as your own. They believe they're right, just as those on "our" side do.
4. [And this is the point of the title of my post] Cultivate friendships with people who are not of your political persuasion. Meet someone from "the other side" for coffee, a drink, a meal. Steer clear of politics as a topic of conversation if you want, and if it does come up, LISTEN more than you express your own opinions.
Remember Chris Christie and Barack Obama after Hurricane Sandy, and let's hope that can be a model for the future.
And vote, of course.