In our polarized society, how do we build bridges? Everything we’ve tried so far seems only to cover things up on the surface while leaving the ugliness to seethe underneath. So in this episode of Leading with Health, I talk about trying to forge bonds of humanity across the political divide, while sidestepping false calls for unity. The resources I mention in the show are:

Highlights include:

3:07 – “The story of the Capitol siege is that there was an election where, finally, voter suppression was erased and Black voters voted in the same percentage that white voters did. And the only way most of white America could explain it was to believe that state legislators, secretaries of states, voting machine companies, invisible voters, Hugo Chavez, Democrats and the sequential nature of the numerical system all conspired to steal an election. It was easier to believe in that improbable scenario than to believe that America was racist this whole time.” – Source: The Biggest Lie: Why Mainstream Media Is Telling the Whitewashed Version of the MAGA Insurrection

4:33 – “There was no indication that the people drawn to the Klan were people who were losing economic status. One of the bizarre things is that the Klan, with its attacks on Catholics and Jews, was strongest in places in which there were hardly any Catholics or Jews. And furthermore, there was no evidence that these guys in the Klan were economically suffering. So there’s no simple relationship between what they’re saying and the idea that they have some real suffering and real grievances.” – Source: What the History of the Ku Klux Klan Can Teach Us about the Capitol Riot

5:00 – “But when you look at one of the differences between, say, right-wing groups and liberal groups, a lot of liberal groups are really committed to proceeding in ways that are objective, that are looking at both sides of an issue. And the right wing has no particular interest in that.” – Source: What the History of the Ku Klux Klan Can Teach Us about the Capitol Riot

19:48 – JM: “As I always say, I am a middle-aged white woman raised in the suburbs of Minnesota in the sixties and seventies. So I am learning as I go, trying to reach out to people in my world to see what we can do. So we don’t have to be people living next door, fake smiling at each other, and hoping that our political problems go away. Hopefully, we can find some points of commonality. I don’t know if we can – you know, you’ve heard me rant on this podcast plenty, going, like, there’s no way to come together on this. It’s just not possible because these beliefs are so heinous. What are we supposed to do? But then I think, okay, what if at some core point there was just an emotional moment that was the same. Could we build from there a teeny tiny bridge?”

20:33 – JM: “Is it possible? I don’t know. I don’t know. I want to believe it. It might be nonsense. It might be futile. I have no idea. I’m not seeing, though, that there has ever been any other possibility that’s worked because, so far, everything we’ve tried, even when it seems to work, eventually lands us back to where we are now. Which is this huge divide, split along party lines, split along race lines, just as ugly as ever.”

20:57 – JM: “So my feeling is we have to keep working until we find some way to heal this. I don’t mean a false unity, I don’t mean coming together with people who haven’t done any of the work to change this. But truly healing this so that there are not two sides where one is attacking the other.”

Photo by Sonali Deo on Unsplash