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Dear Mr President: Obama on how letters from the American people shaped his time in office — interview

Dear Mr President: Obama on how letters from the American people shaped his time in office — interview

Read more on the Guardian

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  • Great article. A great person seeks out that kind of connection.

  • “It’s the power of empathy not as an end-all, be-all,” he said. “Because even after you’ve listened to some­body or seen them, they still have a concrete problem. They’ve lost their house. They’ve lost their job. They disagree with you on abortion. They think that you’re pulling troops out of Afghanistan

    “It’s the power of empathy not as an end-all, be-all,” he said. “Because even after you’ve listened to some­body or seen them, they still have a concrete problem. They’ve lost their house. They’ve lost their job. They disagree with you on abortion. They think that you’re pulling troops out of Afghanistan too soon and, you know, potentially betraying the sacrifices that have been made by the fallen. There are all these concrete issues that are real. And there are real conflicts and real choices.

    “But what this form of story sharing and empathy and listening does is it creates the conditions around which we can then have a meaningful conversation and sort through our differences and our challenges, and arrive at better decisions because we’ve been able to hear everybody. Everybody feels heard so that even if a decision’s made that they don’t completely agree with, then at least they feel like: ‘OK, I was part of this. This wasn’t just dumped on me.’"

    What a thoughtful, kind and empathetic human being. I miss having someone who thought this deeply. As President, it was obvious that he genuinely cared for the people who disagreed with him just as much as those who were on his side.