The Sesame Street Path to Civil Political Discourse

Again, I ask if you watch Sesame Street, and have seen the episodes in the most recent seasons? Their wonderful two-year initiative to teach problem-solving rooted in curiosity and courage.

The framework consists of three simple…but not always easy…things…

I Wonder…

What if…?

Let’s Try!

All and always infused with our perceptions, discernment, reflection, adoption, adaptation, and iteration. Every moment we are alive.

And so…

The confluence of stories of the past 24 hours.. the hostage situation at the Texas synagogue…the statements by a Congressman at dt’s rally last night… blog posts by a former cabinet secretary who I knew and worked for, on the peril in our democracy..and the post on death by the brilliant Maria Popova, simmered together in the confines of my mind, until…

I WONDERED… how the deeply divided socio-political factions in America might find a path to civil dialogue. Even when they strongly disagree on matters of policy. How President Biden might sit together with Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and the most vocal advocates on both sides, in open and generative discourse. And I thought…

WHAT IF… the simple yet powerful method I learned in Philadelphia in 1990, together with the other 21 union and management negotiators of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement at the USDOL, could be adopted by our political leaders at all levels. What if…the leading voices on both sides, from the President on down through Congress, sat together to generate and agree on a short list, five to ten items, that expressed core values and principles which would be applied to all public statements by voices on both sides. A list that would serve both to guide public statements, and to serve as the lens of commitment and accountability- “did they speak and act in accoradance with these principles as they committed to do?” What if our leaders did this, the way management and union leaders at the USDOL and elsewhere in a conservative Republican administration, once did to remarkable and mutually satisfying results.

Let’s Try…

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