Everyone has a story, a personal narrative found in the thread of their being. And much of who we are can be attributed to our perception of our cumulative experiences. I find that more important than what we experience is the way in which we perceive that experience and the beliefs we adopt based on that perception.
For instance, religious belief systems carry their own mantras that shape how many perceive challenges, tragedy, and even defeat. It is the self-talk that motivates many of us to keep moving forward and disarm fear and hopelessness. As a Christian, I've rehearsed statements such as "I am more than a conqueror" and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
I have also found that beyond our differences, at the core of us all, is the need to be heard, loved, and respected. We find a way to rebel (even if quietly) when there is a deficit in regards to one of those needs. Though sometimes in our rebellion these fundamental needs get lost in translation. More important than what we do is why we do it.
Believe it or not, I think that facts are the hardest things to debate over. Not because they might be hard to prove, but because our own admission to them is not so one-dimensional. The interworking of our minds is inseparable from that our hearts. So we often debate based on our perception of the facts, rather than the facts themselves. Again, more important than what we believe is why we believe it.
The "why" is what causes some of us to gravitate towards one another and others to shy away. It's what makes us identify with a public figure, a work of art, a song. It's the language that our hearts identify with and respond to subconsciously. And if we can find a way to speak that language more fluently, then we will find our way to a deeper level of peace with each other and ourselves.