I've learned some things through the years.
- My pro-life friends want to save the lives of babies because they love children and believe protecting them should be one of our top responsibilities.
- My pro-choice friends love children. They believe that outlawing abortion isn't the best way to save babies and mothers; they want better education, easy access to birth control, and effective social services.
- My friends who support certain war actions want to see greater safety and freedom throughout the world.
- My friends who are against certain war actions want to see greater safety and freedom throughout the world.
- My friends who support gun rights are deeply committed to the ideals of individual freedom, responsibility, and safety.
- My friends who support gun control are deeply committed to the ideals of community responsibility and safety.
Need I go on?
It can be all too easy for us to attribute terrible motives to those we disagree with. The result tends to be conspiracy theories and "straw man" arguments that don't really address the topic of debate. I'm sure you've read emails and Facebook posts that suggest that the government is trying to poison our kids through immunizations; so-and-so who started such-and-such movement was actually a racist; and genetically-modified foods are (purposefully) killing us.
Sometimes it takes a lot more effort to believe that the person on the other side of the computer screen really has very valid reasons for believing something you vehemently disagree with.
But it's worth the effort.