We Have the Power to Unify Our Country

Dialogue can help us bridge the political divide

Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash

Dialogue is not debate (which is about winning) or diatribe (which is about venting), but rather conversation that promotes connection and understanding.

How will dialogue help? Imagine family members who hold strong opposing views engaging in conversation with a shared goal of understanding each other. Rather than expressing forceful arguments, they ask one another how they came to their views and share their own journeys. They might react to an unsettling opinion with curiosity, not frustration. They would be unlikely to change each other’s mind about policies, but they may develop more accurate and more complex views of a person who holds an opposing position. Moreover, they may mend or sustain a relationship with someone who is important in their life, which is an important facet of unity.

Professor of Counseling Psychology at UCSB. Author of Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide. https://taniaisrael.com @bybdialogue