Reconciling America

By Teniola Ayoola

The USA is currently experiencing rhetoric of political violence at a level not seen since the Civil War. Peace-builders are concerned, and warn that this is often a precursor to more widespread physical violence.

So what should we do to avoid political conflict?

Melanie Greenberg, CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, said there are three groups who can effectively help promote peace in the USA.

The first group is political leaders. They can focus more on similarities, and pass bi-partisan legislation.

"I think presidents who talk about what brings us together, and that celebrate the strength that we have being such a diverse community sets the stage then for more bi-partisan kinds of initiative and policy," Ms Greenberg told Peace News.

Media is the second component to peace-building in America. Reporters and editors can be less sensational, and focus on stories about what unites people.

"Increasingly, people use their media in a bubble," Ms Greenberg said.

"And I feel like the media in this election were very divisive, because there wasn't a lot of story-telling of what brings us together, what commonalities there might be between a Hillary Clinton platform and a Trump platform," she said.

The third group essential for peace-building is citizens.

"We're seeing such high levels of division right now in our country, and I think it is incumbent on us as citizens, not just to look to our leadership for how we are going to come together," Ms Greenberg said.

"We have to find ways of finding people who don't agree with us - and talking with them."