Intractable Differences?

25 Jul

My conflict resolution colleague, Jim Melamed, has been in the middle of some pretty gnarly conflicts. And he has seen some pretty amazing outcomes.


Because he is a mediator and a darn good one.

Jim wrote an article for entitled “Effective Conversations in American Society.”

He’s tired … tired of the of the political posturing that is feeds on the notion that the issues facing our nation and society are intractable.

The choosing of sides, placing blame and finger-pointing is getting really, really old and also, getting us NO WHERE!

Jim is right on target when he states that the polarized climate is “fraying our essential social fabric.”

He advances the idea that what’s missing is “capable conversations.” These occur when all parties are encouraged to express their views and listen to the other side in a safe and respectful environment.

These two ingredients serve as the foundation for productive dialogue and the potential for progress.

Jim is pragmatic about the challenges of conflict resolution and he understands that most “capable conversations” do not spontaneously start.  They require “leadership and facilitation.”

So Jim is proposing the adoption of a “National Mediation Act” that goes something like this:

“It is the policy of the United States that, when two or more individuals or entities are in protracted dispute, it is preferable that such disputants actively take part in solution-seeking facilitated conversations through mediation, rather than allow such disputes to remain unresolved or result in unnecessary litigation, costs, contentiousness and violence.”

He is starting a campaign to show support for this concept. You can participate by submitting your name and e-mail address by clicking here.

Please consider doing so.  I did.

As the Dalai Lamas said “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”


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