Posted by: smstrouse | August 4, 2016

Can We Bridge the Partisan Divide?


Mark Gerzon thinks so. Or so he claims in his book  The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide. 

Here’s what caught my attention:
The U.S motto is “E Pluribus Unam”–“out of many, one” – but you’d never know it now, says activist Mark Gerzon. The United States seems hopelessly divided. In the past, Americans could disagree without demonizing each other. But now healthy partisan debate has been replaced by brutal political brawling, where nothing but winning matters. Loyalty to party has replaced love of country. The solution, says Gerson, is to become transpartisan. This doesn’t mean adopting a new set of political beliefs. “Transpartisan” is an adjective, not another “ism.” You can be a transpartisan Democrat, a transpartisan Republican, or a transpartisan independent. It is about the how, not the what, a way of conducting politics and solving problems that is the opposite of the hyperpartisanship destroying our country.

imagesThat paragraph arrived in my Inbox from the Charter for Compassion, promoting their new global book study. The idea is to read the book individually, host book clubs, form discussion groups, etc. Then there will be an on-line discussion led by the author.

I didn’t think too much about it until I had dinner with a friend a few nights ago. Margaret (not her real name) is my polar opposite on the political spectrum. We’ve dealt with that mostly by staying away from political topics. That’s getting pretty hard to do, though, in this election cycle. What struck me in our conversation was Margaret’s longing for a respectful dialogue with those of differing opinions. But we both acknowledged that those kinds of discussions don’t happen anymore. And if they do happen, they need to be carefully moderated by someone able to maintain a safe space for everyone.

she-likes-itThat’s the same process I describe in The INTRAfaith Conversation! Maybe it’s the beginning of a movement. I decided that I needed to join the book study and ordered The Reunited States of America. 

I hope he does have some good advice. God knows, this country needs some help – not to become great again or to boast about how great we already are, but how to talk to one another again in a civil manner.

The presentation and discussion led by Mark Gerzon will be September 17 at 9:00 am PDT and you do have to register.

But give it some thought. Join me in at least maybe the beginning of a bridge building project across our partisan divide. I guess you could call it the INTRApolitical conversation. Who knows? Maybe at our next dinner Margaret and I will finally be able to talk about politics.


  1. Hear hear. If only we cared about understanding each other rather than demonizing those that disagree with us…


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