Truth and Reconciliation

     One of the things that I admired about Nelson Mandela and the transition from the Apartheid system to the current governing system of South Africa is the Truth and Reconciliation process that he created. It was where people came together to tell their stories, to be heard, and to forgive. I seriously doubt that South Africa is perfect. It surely has it problems. But, what the process seemed to allow was a transition with less chaos and violence. Someone from South Africa would need to speak to this to say if this is correct.
     It occurred to me at the time of the 2016 election that the United States needs something similar to the Truth and Reconciliation process. I believe that we need a series of Town Halls everywhere where people are brought together to engage in civil discourse. To be a place where everyone who wants to be heard is heard in a safe, nonviolent, nonjudgmental space. So that we can hear each other and find those places where we agree, we can find what we look like to each other. I think that, when we come together, we can learn to leave the fear behind, to see each other as humans who want the same things.
     I even reached out to the Bushes and the Obamas through Facebook to suggest that they could be examples of the Civility Project (as I am taking to calling it). My thought was that they could start this movement as I don't have the public awareness behind me that could help me start this project. I felt that, if these two couples who have different points of view can treat each other civilly, they would be terrific spearheads for this movement. Apparently they all have other things they wish to do with their lives. I, alas, am not a Greta Thunberg. I am an introvert by nature. And, I have failed the few times I've tried starting a group.
     I have this feeling that we are needing a Civility Project more and more as time goes by. The following are links to some things that have made me think:

From On Being, a conversation about how conversation can change someone's world view:

From the Liturgists podcast, one called Enemies (Question: Do we need enemies to feel good about ourselves?):

From the Velveteen Rabbi blog, a post about what the Torah says about how one should move through the world, treat strangers and refugees:

May we all come to see The Other as just like us.

Please click here if you would like to find out more about me, my services or my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be.