So I stayed up late watching the Chiefs beat the Chargers in overtime (an outcome that lost me points in a pick 'em pool but secured my fantasy football team's victory!!) and found myself rooting inexplicably for the Chiefs. Seeking answers, I turned to Wikipedia. I discovered that the lovely metropolis of Kansas City has the 43rd worst WalkScore of the nation's 50 largest cities and is represented by a Democrat minister and a Republican farmer. I figured that most of my friends, would, as usual, find my desire to go learn more about, and possibly visit KC, to be strange and not at all to their taste.
This got me thinking about a book I skimmed in the fabulous Harvard Book Store. I don't recall title or author (will go back and update this with that information later when I go buy it), but the argument was: Americans have now more than ever sorted themselves into communities of like minded individuals...and that's the problem. It takes a common theory of urban economics--given a choice of towns with varied policies, you'll move to the one that best suits your lifestyle (more or less money for schools, more or less money for public transit, etc.)--and explores what happens when you still have to debate federal/state policy with people whose lifestyle choices you not only don't agree with but now don't even have the means to understand. Familiarity may breed contempt, but interacting with others face-to-face generally leads to civil discourse, particularly compared to the internet.
In short, I think its worth spending time in places you may at first find not your style. In long, I'm going to go read that book and get back to you.