In 2020, our bitterly divided America needs to recommit to the Golden Rule - Opinion

Tue, 2019-12-31

Newsweek

As we move full speed into the election of 2020, we can feel the pull toward division, domination and revenge in our politics. We write this as two veterans of America's culture wars who fear that this round of battle could lead us toward violence.

As political activists we both know something about trying to bridge the divisions in politics. In 1998, Joan Blades, watched our nation polarize over the impeachment of the President. She co-founded MoveOn.org as a bipartisan effort to move the nation toward healing and away from division. Earlier that same decade, Rich Tafel, a minister living in Massachusetts saw the increasing brutality of a culture war between the far left and religious right. He jumped in to bridge the divide by launching Log Cabin Republicans in 1993.

More than two decades later, we have joined forces as a Democrat and Republican to bridge the divide again. Rich is now a pastor and leads the American Project at Pepperdine School of Public policy that seeks to find healthy path for the conservative movement. Joan has co-founded an open source, scalable, left-right dialogue model called Living Room Conversations that is being used in faith communities, schools, libraries, by video and yes, in living rooms, to connect people across the country.

Today we are working to fight the pull toward division and hatred by looking to a core teaching of all the major faiths. "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you."

This past November, the National Institute for Civil Discourse organized a Sunday dedicated to bringing the Golden Rule into our political life. Churches across the country preached on the ways houses of faith could lead in bridging the divide in our nation by employing compassion, curiosity and forgiveness.

Simply reminding ourselves that in our political life we should treat others as we would want to be treated is a great start.