Political Peace Building

A recent headline read “The Choice Between Trump and Biden is Increasingly a Choice Between Good and Evil.”

Where can you possibly go from there?

Yet, for many Americans, this is, increasingly, the dualistic lens in which we view each other.

As a nation, we’re locked into a pattern of “bad othering.”

The United States is among the most polarized countries in the world, and a 2019 study revealed that 79% of Americans believe there isn’t enough trust among citizens.

We have a choice. We can either turn on each other, or toward each other.

Our strategies to repair our exponentially widening divisions must be as robust as the rifts themselves.

This week, we’re introducing Political Peace Building, a new conversation designed to foster political peace building efforts within political affinity groups.

While we will continue to foster conversations across divides, circling up with those we view as most like us, and exploring together how to become peace builders, can be a powerful intervention.

Within our affinity groups, when we don’t have to armor up to defend our beliefs, we may feel safer to be more vulnerable about our doubts and our shortcomings.

When we peel back layers of anger and fear and find what lies beneath—worry about harm done to people and the planet we love—we can harness that sense of care and use it as our grounds of engaging across difference.

Political Peace Building sets the stage, using high-trust peer groups, for us to consider what we might be willing to commit to in order to build our more perfect union.

Generosity? Understanding? Forgiveness?

This is not about smoothing over our significant differences, but about holding them in tension, understanding that oneness is not sameness.

When embers of division are being stoked by our institutions and leaders, we become the front lines of connection.

As citizens, we end perpetuating harm that tears the foundation of our democracy.
As neighbors, we draw on our shared humanity as grounds for engagement.
As peacemakers, we activate social trust that is our civic immune system.

We do it together, one conversation at a time.

Shannon Mannon
Newsletter Editor