“In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper… Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.” — Barack Obama, Philadelphia, PA, March 18, 2008.
Mediation is built upon a notion that people in conflict can work to solve a problem together. But to do that, we must allow ourselves to see what the Quakers would call “that of God” in the other person. We must disengage, if only for a few moments, from sparring with the other, and hear what that person is saying. It is at that moment that they will hear us. Light and air come in the room.
I am tremendously excited about Obama’s campaign, because he is fundamentally inclusive. He understands, perhaps intuitively, perhaps by working at it, the very core of mediation. What would it mean if we had, as president, someone who was a mediator at his center?