Once you hear this, you can’t unhear it

Trump is on trial! If each of you reading this can kick in $10 or $25, it'll help keep Palmer Report firing on all cylinders at this crucial time in our nation's history: Donate now
-----
Palmer Report readers: sign up for our free mailing list here


I recently listened to a radio interview with William Ury discussing “Why Conflict is Good for Us,” and his new book Possible. Although it’s hard to imagine finding common ground with right-wing extremists, Ury cites his first-hand experiences negotiating violent conflicts during the Cold War, South Africa’s Apartheid, Northern Ireland, Columbia, and Venezuela.

Here in America, polls show the Right believes that the Left is trying to erase America’s history, and the Left believes the Right wants to destroy our Democracy. Ury says that neither is true. Frustrated listeners called in, mostly from the Left, saying how their lives are adversely affected by MAGA. One caller who leaned Right claimed EVERYONE on the Left believes that ALL cops are bad. Absurd. But then again, they feel it’s absurd to accuse them of wanting to destroy our democracy.

Ury explained that there is a path back to normalcy. There are two opposing sides. But there is also a Third Side, those with a “collective muscle memory” of when things were NORMAL. He called it, “The Exhausted Majority.” That majority believes Americans agree on more than we disagree on. The Northern Ireland conflict ended when mothers of sons and daughters who died in the war said ENOUGH. That encouraged others until it made it up to leaders who saw the tide shifting.

Whenever the host Lesley McClurg pushed doomsday terms like “Two out of five Americans think we’re headed to a civil war,” Ury pushed back. That rhetoric feeds the pessimism that drives hyperactivation, anger, and despair, until people believe the stakes are existential and start to arm themselves. Instead, this is an opportunity to transform. Ury is neither a pessimist, nor optimist, but a “POSSIBLE-IST.”

So how could this be an opportunity when we are dealing with a global network led by Putin set on installing corrupt leaders in vulnerable nations and inciting horrific conflicts like those in the Red Sea, and Israel? Ury stressed that it seems impossible, until it’s possible. We mustn’t fall into the “Three-As Trap” of Avoid, Attack, Accommodate.

There is a bridge. On one side is a balcony, a place of calm, where we can listen to the other side. “Meet animosity with curiosity.” On our side we must “get to yes” with ourselves to figure out what is important. The people around us, the Third Side, span the bridge to the other side. But how? One caller said she is open to trying to bridge the gap, but that we need help, a forum. Ury recommended Livingroom Conversations founded by Joan Blades of MoveOn.org.

It all sounded impossible. But then something happened to me. After hearing Ury’s words, I could not unhear them. My brain is now open to what’s POSSIBLE. And the signs are there. Two-thirds of more than 40 former Trump Cabinet have publicly refused to endorse him in the 2024 campaign, including his Vice President. Trump’s bloodbath rhetoric is backfiring on him. The Biden administration continues to pass significant bipartisan legislation and policies.

There’s a photo of President Biden carrying Ury’s book Possible. We can bridge the gap and welcome those who want to get back to normal to VOTE BLUE.

Trump is on trial! If each of you reading this can kick in $10 or $25, it'll help keep Palmer Report firing on all cylinders at this crucial time in our nation's history: Donate now
-----
Palmer Report readers: sign up for our free mailing list here