The Golden Rule in Politics

Overview
People with a variety of theological and political views are coming together to express concern about the polarization and hostility that is tearing our country apart. We are deeply troubled by the prospect of an angry and hateful political campaign season in 2020 that would further divide us as a nation. 

There is a belief that our country can find guidance through this dilemma in the spiritual teachings and practice of the Golden Rule - to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”— especially as we engage in political activity. We believe that if enough people follow this Golden Rule principle, it will help generate the respect and kindness we so desperately need in our country. 

Round 1 (~4 minutes)

Overview and agreements

People with a variety of theological and political views are coming together to express concern about the polarization and hostility that is tearing our country apart. We are deeply troubled by the prospect of an angry and hateful political campaign season in 2020 that would further divide us as a nation. There is a belief that our country can find guidance through this dilemma in the spiritual teachings and practice of the Golden Rule - to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”— especially as we engage in political activity. We believe that if enough people follow this Golden Rule principle, it will help generate the respect and kindness we so desperately need in our country.

Before every conversation, you will be asked to read and agree to the following coversation agreements:

 Be Curious and Open to Learning.
Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.

Show Respect and Suspend Judgment.
Human beings tend to judge one another, do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.

Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences.
In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on some beliefs and opinions.

Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others.
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be considerate to others who are doing the same.

Be Purposeful and to the Point.
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are making the same point more than once.

Own and Guide the Conversation.
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what’s happening and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.
Round 2 (~15 minutes)

Get to know each other

The purpose of this round is to get to know each other and to build rapport. Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:

What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country? 
What would your best friend say about who you are? 
What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Round 3 (~15 minutes)

Listen and share to understand

The purpose of this round is to explore the assigned topic, sharing and listening to each other's perspectives. Each participant can take a few minutes to answer one of the following questions:

What does the Golden Rule mean to you? 
Do you personally apply the Golden Rule in your interactions with others? If you don’t, what holds you back from doing so? 
Do you assume good intent in those with whom you disagree, or do you find yourself skeptical? What experience brings you to this assumption? 
How do the political divisions in our country impact your life at this time? 
What do you think people can do to help bridge political divides? 
What comes to mind when you consider applying the Golden Rule to your interactions over politics? What would be the best first step for you?
Round 4 (~15 minutes)

Reflect and share takeaways

The purpose of this round is to share reflections on the conversation that just took place. Each participant can take a 1-2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:

What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this conversation?
What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic? 
How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself? 
Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
Round 5 (~1 minutes)

Say goodbye

Say thank you and goodbye!