We can do this

We can do this

A friend sent me an article about an organization called “More in Common.” I checked out the organization. More in Common’s mission is to understand the forces driving us apart, to find common ground and help to bring people together to tackle our shared challenges. They draw from groundbreaking research to test and find solutions, working with partners that have the capacity to make a real difference at scale.

Their research found that Republicans strongly view Democrats as brain-washed, hateful, racist, and arrogant. Democrats feel the same way about Republicans and the scores showed these feelings are overwhelmingly strong among both groups. Neither were willing to describe the other party as reasonable, honest, caring or humble. It is interesting that an organization named “More in Common” is telling us that the two parties hate each other.

Here’s the thing… their research shows that in terms of issues like what will be taught in schools, how issues of our country’s past are handled, and views on religion, guns and even abortion, show very similar views exist among the majority of voters.

I am familiar with the comparable findings of Dr. Morris Fiorina, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute. In his last book “Unstable Majorities,” Dr. Fiorina reports that his research shows that there is no more political divide among everyday Americans than in 1976. Then and now, 40% of voters identify themselves as moderates. He notes that the party regulars, who he calls hidden tribes, only constitute about 15% of voters. Both Dr. Morris and “More in Common” blame the cable media for the hate among the party regulars. The cable extremists remind me of professional wrestling. Everyone knows it’s rigged, but it is entertaining, you can easily tell the good guys from the bad guys and it’s a big money maker.

Two surveys taken since the midterm elections show that the voters are seeking a spirit of compromise instead of war in Washington.  An NPR.PBS Newshour /Marist poll finds 74% want  Congress to work together and a December 2022 Gallup poll puts Congress job approval at 22%.

It seems clear that Americans want teamwork, yet we seem not to have changed our approach to one another. I have a friend who is an expert in relationship building as he works as a mediation specialist. He has taught me that the basics of reaching agreement between protagonists are the following:

  1. Don’t disrespect contrary opinions
  2. Honestly consider all opinions
  3. Focus on agreement, not disagreement
  4. True compromise allows both to achieve some win, but doesn’t allow either to achieve all

We can do this. Let’s show Congress how. Happy New approach!

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