Recognising and dealing with the spectrum of opinion
It was a bit of revelatory moment for me when I realised that most political and religious movements, or even people on the different sides of social issues, are comprised of a spectrum of opinion. In almost all cases there are the hardcore/extremists at one end of the spectrum and the moderates at the other, with a wide range of opinions in between. Seeing things that way helped me to avoid dismissing the people on the 'other side of the isle,' as all being raving lunatics or unswayable hard liners. It's healthy to remember that, for every person with extreme views, there are probably a dozen or more moderates who might come close to agreeing with me or at least recognising my stance as reasonable.
There are a few disadvantages to the spectrum of opinion, especially when it is on your own side of the debate. You might hold measured views but, seemingly, there will always be someone who exists, ostensibly under the same label as you, who is extreme either in words or in actions. How do you reign in those people and is it the responsibility of moderates on any side to control the wilder aspects of their movement? (I've heard it being said that it is.)
Also, how do you counter the fact that people on the other side of any issue can score cheap points by pointing to the most unreasonable people representing your view point and claiming that they represent everyone on your side of the divide?
Or, if everyone on your side of an issue is not doing what it takes to effect change, how do you fire them up?