• Sue Steiner

Conflict Resolution in the Trump Era

“We are all the same on the inside, so why judge.” Avari Brown, 7th grader

How To Get Along

I find myself at odds with some core beliefs as I witness Trump in action as our president.  I have always felt it important as a person and as a country to treat people as equals, regardless of race, nationality, orientation or gender.  I also feel it is my moral obligation to not be quiet about the blatant racism and pure ignorance coming out of our president’s mouth!  This is NOT media spin because it is words he says, in interviews, speeches etc.  I am disheartened to see that Congress, as of yet, is complacent in allowing this to go on.  I feel, those who are complacent, are consenting to this behavior.  I will not be complacent.

In order for me not to acquiesce to this kind of treatment, I feel it is a moral obligation, to speak out.

I also feel strongly that one must work to bring people together.  I feel division is destructive – in relationships, for our country, and for our world.  Yes, I know some of you may think that is a pipe dream.  You are entitled to your belief.  But I feel I should not add to the division, but rather find ways to bring about resolution.  I have always been a huge advocate of conflict resolution skills and peaceful de-escalation.  I believe in non-violence.  I know my sphere of influence is small in relation to our country’s political dilemma but feel it is important in order to feel empowered and engaged, I need to do what I can, on whatever level is available to me.  I can do what I can, where I am, to the best of my ability, to live at peace. 

So how does one live at peace with their neighbors and co-workers when there is such strong division and opposing views?  That is the question of this time in history and we are at a pivotal point.  That is kind of scary for me because I am not one who likes to draw attention to myself or to stand out in a crowd.  I prefer to work in the background and to live a quiet, unassuming life.  I live in a lovely, rural, conservative area in Ohio.  I love my little town and love my neighbors and co-workers.  It does not go without stating my area is heavy with Trump voters.  I, too, used to vote Republican on the anti-abortion issue until I started to see some pretty unchristian policies and attitudes being pushed by Republican politicians.  Sigh- I know…. politics and party lines are SO controversial right now!  How does one live at peace, with their neighbors, but disagree and speak out on important human rights issues without invoking a deeper divide?  Good question!

To back track just a step- I went thru Eastern Mennonite University S.T.A.R. program 2 or 3 years ago. I completed Level I and II.  It was excellent and opened my eyes to a world of people working toward peaceful resolutions in dire circumstances.  Everyone who strives for peace is a hero in my eyes.  I was humbled to meet people involved in peacemaking at STAR that included organizations such as; Doctors without Borders, Mennonite Church USA, World BankShelter 44, MADRE– combating violence against women, EMU’s Center for Justice & Peacebuilding grads, students, and professors, Washington DC-based activists,  Mediators Beyond Borders to name a few.