Fifty years of divisive politics has politically fractured American society. President Trump is hinting that he might refuse to leave office if the November election doesn’t go his way. Regardless of the election’s outcome, “what will Americans do to pick up the pieces of our fractured society and get back to work on our most pressing problems?”
Now is the time in America to strengthen this most-essential autoimmune system in order to avert disaster and get us back on track.
—Peter T. Coleman
Peter T. Coleman’s answer to that question, which he poses in a new column in The Hill, is “positive deviance” — a term taken from study of international peace-building efforts that refers to effective, sustainable interventions that often come from bridge-building groups within a society. Coleman, Professor of Psychology & Education and Director of TC’s Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, argues that even as Americans are becoming increasingly accepting of political violence, and even as the coming fight over the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg threatens to worsen existing divides, much can be done to support “our nascent ecology of unity.” He calls for “a national initiative to connect, support and expand to scale the many bridging groups currently working on their own,” concluding: “Now is the time in America to strengthen this most-essential autoimmune system in order to avert disaster and get us back on track.”