It’s how you say it — Part 3: Two Truths


Thirty years of mediating civil litigation taught me two important truths about conflict. First, if collective problem solving is the goal, name calling and bullying are usually counterproductive; minds can best, and maybe only be changed in a context of friendship, or at least low animosity, and voluntary concessions are rarely given under threat. Working within this paradigm calls for trust building and dialogue. But, when domination or destruction is one party’s goal, when relationship and shared interests hold no sway, force can become the only alternative to capitulation or annihilation. Win or lose, the target of such aggression has little choice but to prepare for a fight to the finish. Identifying intentions correctly is critical to choosing which truth to follow.


How do these truths apply to current American politics? Continue reading “It’s how you say it — Part 3: Two Truths”

It’s how you say it — Part 2: Hate is Not a Strategy

Liberal friends took me to task for my last posting, “It’s how you say it,” accusing me of over-generalizing, failing to cite examples of media bias against Trump and his administration, and basically sounding like a Trump apologist. True, it would have been more accurate to say about media bias that I see why Trump supporters believe it, rather than “I agree,” but at its heart the post was not intended as a political critique, but rather a lamentation…a plea. Continue reading “It’s how you say it — Part 2: Hate is Not a Strategy”

It’s how you say it

Is Donald Trump a victim of liberal hatred? He and his supporters, allegedly folks who have felt ignored and isolated by liberal elitism for decades, say the mainstream media ignores his accomplishments and pounds their drums for sustained attention to every conceivable criticism of him, his policies, and his administration. As an avid reader of mainstream media, I think they’re right. Continue reading “It’s how you say it”


America’s gun debate is framed too narrowly to be helpful; advocacy for gun legislation isn’t only about preventing school shootings, nor does it seek to circumvent the 2nd Amendment. Legislation does more than command or prohibit behavior, it formally declares social priorities, what is acceptable to a society and what isn’t. Laws reflect, and in myriad ways shape our social values. Focusing on the cultural implications of gun legislation, or lack of it, provides a deeper and more productive focus for a national conversation. Continue reading “Guns”

Have you noticed?

Have you noticed that even after taking control of the government, Republicans are still not building or creating anything? One could almost understand their constant obstruction to anything the Obama Administration wanted to do since they hated him so much and couldn’t get much past the Dems in the Senate and Obama’s veto. But now, with control of the White House and both houses of Congress, their only agenda is to dismantle, repeal, exclude, and withdraw. What’s up here? Is there anything about this country and our society they do like? Continue reading “Have you noticed?”

Letter to My Republican Friends,


Dear Old Friend,

We never talk about anything even remotely political anymore and I’ve been struggling for an explanation. I don’t know about you, but I miss our old conversations, the way we used to banter about our Parties’ differences in debates that were at once humorously predictable and mostly earnest. We probably could have switched sides we knew each other’s positions so well. I don’t think either of us ever expected to change the other’s mind, but in some way I think we kept each other honest.  And that was good, wasn’t it? No matter how long we argued, our differences never interfered with our friendship.

Something has changed. Continue reading “Letter to My Republican Friends,”