Interfaith leader Eboo Patel says that differences and disagreements among people are an inevitable part of living in a diverse democracy, but they shouldn’t keep citizens from working together for the common good. In this lesson, students explore the varied ways people respond to differences by reading and reflecting on a poem. Then they listen to Patel tell the story of Ruth Messinger, a former president of the American Jewish World Service. Messinger’s experience of working in rural Oklahoma and finding allies across religious differences invites students to think about how we can better navigate religious and political tensions in democratic societies. Finally, students write a new stanza for a poem describing how they would like to respond to differences so that democracy works better today.