The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s September 2015 TV program deals constructively with our na-tion’s political polarization. We explore practical ways to communicate across the political divide, so we can all move forward.
When Americans have such sharply different values and worldviews, we lack a common starting point about what is real and true. This makes it hard to have rational conversations about controversial issues – and hard to solve public policy problems.
Are we stuck with escalating polarization? Or can we find better ways to respect the basic humanity even of people with whom we disagree?
Of course, when we advocate for particular public policies, we want to convince people on the other side. But before we can persuade anyone, we need to find starting points, strategies and methods that will allow us to become more effective in persuading the public, the media, the politicians, and other decision-makers. Some kinds of strategies and methods work better than others. Let’s learn from what works!
Three guests help us explore this topic. All have decades of skilled experience and many wise insights:
• Michael Savoca has volunteered as an advocate for a variety of public policy issues and draws from a variety of other experiences. I have enjoyed hearing Michael share his experiences and his wise in-sights into how to discuss political issues effectively.
• John Van Eenwyk is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist and an Episcopal priest. He has solid experience working with people who have suffered from political and physical violence in many parts of the world. He also founded the International Trauma Treatment Program, which this TV program has featured several times over the years.
• Regon Unsoeld draws from decades of experience as a highly dedicated and creative classroom teacher who has helped students grapple with controversial issues. He has volunteered at the local, state and local levels of the teachers’ union, and he has volunteered in many community level issues and activities to support democracy and human rights.