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We are more alike than we are different, and common values overcome political differences

26.03.2024 | 01:34 |
 We are more alike than we are different, and common values overcome political differences

Listening to and watching news from international media, one cannot help but succumb to the feeling that the world is on the verge of disaster - neighbors are at war with neighbors, and the overall situation is full of seemingly insoluble disagreements.

The political debate has indeed become extremely heated, but one American sociologist, who has been called the most optimistic sociologist in the States, believes that in the thoughts and feelings of ordinary Americans things are actually better than one might think.

“It turns out we're more alike than we're different,” Will Johnson, executive director of research firm The Harris Poll says. – People on the left, right and center all want to make a difference in the world, value learning and growth, and most of all, crave for love and care. Simply put, our hearts are in sync.”

Johnson says perceived differences disappear when you consider values, perspectives and experiences beyond politics.

Of course, political views matter, but they are notoriously fickle and may not take into account the complexity of individual people's views, and the results often challenge conventional wisdom.

For example, in a Harris Poll commissioned by Time magazine, respondents were asked to select adjectives that described their own lives. They chose "hopeful" and "happy" as their top two words. Only in third place was the negative feeling, “disappointment.” Johnson insists that Harris Poll data shows that Americans share far more values than they disagree on. Many people enjoy having friends who hold different points of view than theirs and find that they want the same things for themselves and their families. And it's based on respondents who were selected to reflect the U.S. population by gender, age, region, political affiliation and economic status.

It turns out that Americans are more cheerful than the headlines suggest when asked about their relationships with each other: • 76% see good in those with whom they disagree.

• 71% have a friend who does not share their views • 57% believe that the “culture wars” are exaggerated in terms of the importance of the issues in these debates to everyday life.

• 57% think most Americans get along with each other.

• 56% believe that almost everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American dream.

While other social scientists may look for black-and-white conclusions, Johnson always looks for the values hidden beneath the surface.

“The idea that people can be put into a political framework that then reflects the mood of the country is outdated,” Johnson says. Our goal is to find the nuances of public opinion in the United States, since most of our world is gray.”



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