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Sometimes, in major social conflicts, people behave like spectators at a sporting event. For example, in the highly-escalated conflict between Democrats and Republicans in the United States, many people get their news from their preferred (and often biased) media outlet, and cheer when their side gets a "win" or hits the other side particularly effectively. At the same time, though, they often bemoan the results: Only about 20% of Americans, for example, think the U.S. Congress is doing a good job. And most are unhappy about the way the U.S. is dealing with many pressing problems: climate, immigration, guns, health care, the economy.
However, most people still don't get involved, thinking, that there is "nothing they can do," or that "isn't my job." But it is! In a democracy we all have the responsibility to get involved by (at least) learning about the issues and candidates and then voting based on that information--which a shocking number of people don't do--or better yet, participating in local civic organizations or forums, going to public hearings and other such civic events. In addition, learning how to participate in such meetings effectively, and learning how to work effectively with others whose ideas differ from one's own is the best and only way to successfully address our many intractable political conflicts. More about this topic can be found in the following Things YOU Can Do to Help post and the Conflict Frontiers Post linked below.
Things YOU Can Do to Help: If You're Not Part of the Solution, You're Part of the Problem
The first "Things YOU Can Do to Help" Blog post explains that we all have a role to play in fixing intractable conflicts.
Conflict Frontiers Seminar: Meeting the Authoritarian Populism Challenge 1: Authoritarian and Partisan Conflict
An appeal for us all to put our partisan differences in perspective and work together to strengthen democracy.
All Infographics - A set of very short statements that try to emphasize key conflict resolution principles, which, if followed, would make a lot of intractable conflicts much better.
Conflict isn't just a spectator sport…
where all you do is cheer for the home team and celebrate the ""big hits.""
Get in the game and do what you can to make it constructive!