November 12, 2018

Fire doesn’t care who you voted for, who you hate, who you pray to, or the color of your skin.  Flames don’t distinguish between those who give charity and those who steal, between those who are “right,” and those who are “wrong.”  They don’t have eyes, morality, or a conscience.  They don’t see good and bad.  They are an equal opportunity destroye...

I don’t know about you, but I chose to avert my eyes as election returns came in. It was my way of dealing with the stress—of caring deeply about outcomes and at the same time knowing whatever happened, it would not be a resolution but rather setting the stage for the next episode of our national political brawl.  

So here we are, winners and losers...

18 years ago this week, America voted for Presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore. The result was virtually a tie, and the five ensuing weeks of legal battles were confusing and sometimes ugly.

Always remember this: We were able to settle this dispute without tanks rolling through the streets, shots being fired, or blood being shed. The r...

November 6, 2018

Today, Americans are called on to perform one of our most important civic duties - to vote.  The notion of a civic duty is that citizens have a responsibility or obligation to their government in return for the rights granted them by their citizenship.

Nearly all Americans - left, right, or center - seem to be in agreement that every citizen should...

November 1, 2018

In his incisive piece "Recovering the (Lost) Art of Civility" from the October 29th New York Times, David Bornstein, co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, interviews David Fairman, the managing director of the Consensus Building Institute and associate director of the M.I.T.-Harvard Public Disputes Program.

The two explore the roots of our...

October 30, 2018

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of family gatherings where we reunite with loved ones and celebrate our blessings.  But it is no secret that the holiday meals often devolve into tense debates about politics, lifestyles, and varying perspectives?  Particularly in these divisive times, many people are dreading the upcoming holidays and wonderin...

October 29, 2018

We Americans are getting far too accustomed to tragedy!

But as disturbingly commonplace as these violent and hateful events are becoming, last week - with the mass shooting in Pittsburgh, the Kroger’s shooting in Kentucky, and the mail bomb attempts in various cities - was a particularly bad week.

In the aftermath of these terroristic events, the med...

October 26, 2018

Carolyn Lukensmeyer, executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, appeared on PBS News Hour yesterday to discuss the risk of escalating political violence in the wake of the recent pipe bomb incidents.  

Lukensmeyer, and additional guest Joanne Freeman, professor of history and American Studies at Yale, were asked to provide a h...

October 25, 2018

Debate is a healthy component of democracy.  Citizens should be able to discuss issues, even contentious issues, to present and explain their perspectives.  Whether the goal is to persuade the other, or simply to inform the other, there is value in the face to face communication of ideas, which, at the very least, conveys the reality that each of u...

October 24, 2018

Reaching across the aisle - it used to be a virtue and a badge of honor, but in many circles today it has become an offense, for some an almost traitorous act of capitulation.  Public officials are pressured to put party first, many media outlets have devolved to become mere megaphones for one party or the other, and the American populace has been...

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