This article appeared in the November 13, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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The tale of a MAGA hat swap

Rogelio V. Solis/AP
"Make America Great Again" hats await purchase outside the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi, Nov. 1, 2019, before a "Keep America Great" rally.

Today’s five hand-picked stories look at impeachment through two different lenses, a potential sea change in British politics, what pork says about Chinese identity, the importance of remembering the Tulsa race riot, and the power of blue socks

But first, this week I got a letter from a reader who, to me, embodies so much of what the Monitor stands for. To cope with the toxic partisanship today, Ken Jacobsen, a former teacher in Wisconsin, strives to be radically self-aware. I’ve often thought of sharing with you all the poems he sends me, challenging himself to love more, to understand others more deeply, to forgive.

What he sent me this week was about a fellow he met who was wearing a red Trump “Make America Great Again” hat. Not long ago, this man told Ken, some guy wearing a Chicago Bears hat told him baldly, “I don’t like your hat!” Where Ken lives is Green Bay Packers country, so the gentleman in the MAGA hat responded, “Well, I don’t like your hat!”

But he didn’t leave it at that. He said, “So, let’s swap hats for a day. Then, I’ll like you, and you’ll like me.” Ken doesn’t know if they swapped hats, but a genuine conversation followed.

How we talk to each other matters. One study suggests that we face a moral empathy gap. It’s not that one side has no morals, it’s that we don’t see that people prioritize universal values differently. Bridging that gap involves understanding where others are coming from enough to speak their language. Or, in one case, perhaps just trading hats.

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This article appeared in the November 13, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/13 edition