Op-Ed: Open Letter to Political Leaders and the University Community February 14, 2011 1 Comment Share tweet Op Ed By: Op Ed Martin Luther King Day and the recent shooting in Tucson call us to consider how we each contribute to peaceful political dialog in the U.S. It appears that both shootings were the work of isolated individuals. Nevertheless, all spiritual traditions affirm that our own speech and actions can powerfully affect others for good or evil. Every politician and political commentator holds a special trust for the welfare of all people, not just their supporters. We especially invite our political leaders and commentators to be mindful of how they help shape the political dialog in the U.S. Specifically: 1. To hold in your hearts even those who oppose you. Every person has valid hopes and fears, and you can sincerely wish them well even while opposing their policies. 2. To avoid inciting fear and hatred in your listeners by avoiding suggestions that your opponents are less honest, less intelligent, or less patriotic. 3. To spend time framing the issues not just as us/them and win/lose, but considering the possibility of win/win. We realize that tactics which attack the honesty, intelligence, or patriotism of opponents often sway people in the short term. But every religion calls us to value the long term, where such tactics are corrosive to the well-being and trust of all people in the nation. “We can contribute to the global community by treating our opponents with compassion, or diminish hope by dehumanizing our enemies. United, we can make any dream a reality.” We call on the university community to aid positive political dialog in the U.S. Many here have deep knowledge of how to improve effective communication, increase empathic listening and compassion, nurture win/win negotiation, and build community. We encourage you to apply that knowledge to this high cause. In the words of Dr. King, “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear…Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Michael Hagerty, Professor, UC Davis; Rebecca Nie, Masters Candidate, Co-president of Buddhist Community at Stanford; Rev. Scotty McLennan, Dean for Religious Life, Stanford University; Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Newmann, Senior Associate Dean for Religious Life, Stanford; Rev. Joanne Sanders, Associate Dean for Religious Life, Stanford Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. peace politics 2011-02-14 Op Ed February 14, 2011 1 Comment Share tweet Subscribe Click here to subscribe to our daily newsletter of top headlines.