What if bridging the partisan divide isn't about building bridges to others, but building a bridge within ourselves that allows us to love everything about us?
I met a man two years ago who (I did not know at the time) is the parent who birthed the transpartisan movement. I was awestruck meeting him despite knowing little and less about his titanic stature in the field. We quickly became good friends.
His name is Mark Gerzon, and I want to share a bit of his story with you--and his radical call to action for each of us.
Mark (like me) moved from a very conservative part of the country to a very liberal one (the very same Cambridge, MA, though he went to Harvard). He quickly became an anti-war radical there. "I started working at a Think Tank with this woman named Hillary Rodham, who was dating this guy Bill..." He was frustrated that the Nixon administration didn't listen to their policy papers. Today such deaf ears from the other party are no surprise, but we were still solidifying our partisanship back then.
He then moved into mediation work with Congress, hosting retreats for Representatives across the political divide to help them work together. The retreats had incredible energy, but nothing changed on the House Floor. In his words, he failed. And he was probably the best out there, having written the bestselling book on it. His next book, A House Divided (1997), reflects his disillusionment and concern.
Over the past two decades he has worked hard to learn what he needs to learn in order to help the country heal itself. In the ten-minute video below (for mobile, click through), he radically challenges us to look inside ourselves to find the parts of us that aren't partisan, and believe in issues that are beyond partisan. We need to find these parts of us and learn to love them. As the saying goes, we cannot love someone else until we love ourselves.
"How can I love that little conservative in me who leans a little right, that little liberal in me who leans a little left, and that mediator in the middle that's trying to bring everyone together?"