Mediate. Facilitate. Vote.
I believe in the power of story-telling and listening. Stories are a natural, influential way to communicate. Of course, when stories are not listened to - not paid attention to - not understood, they lose their power. Listening with an open mind is a necessary partner to story-telling.
I also believe in a representative democracy, like the United States where we’re based and where I have always lived. An essential building block of representative democracies is that the best policies are created when everyone has a say in who leads the government.
Politics is an essential part of governing, because of the nature of our democratic society. If politics is all about elections, then it’s all about who is in charge of every law and regulation, from Social Security to the presence of a stop sign on your corner.
In both mediation and facilitation, listening is a core component to success - and a necessary input toward a resolution. In our society, voting is the main way that government leaders listen to the people. They watch and pay attention to polls, and the most important poll is always the election. Legislators and executives (and in some jurisdictions even judges) watch who says what and whether they win or lose the election.
Of course, there are problems with our voting system. I don’t want to gloss over them. How we vote, when we vote, who has the money to run, and how badly the district is gerrymandered all skew the poll results. On the other hand, every one of these problems has a solution (or many possible solutions). The problems can be fixed, if we speak and are listened to, if we vote for those who will make the changes (or run for office ourselves to make the changes - Cosmo has a comprehensive list of nonpartisan tips).