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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/29/08

Political Hysteria: Call for Immediate Pre-Election Calming

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Message Diane Perlman

This alarming matter is inspiring calls for civility, such as:

An Open Letter to John McCain from Frank Schaeffer, October 10, 2008

".. If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence ..... Change the atmosphere of your campaign. ... stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people - forever. .... We will hold you responsible. (Note: This letter had no apparent effect on continuing rhetoric.)

A Statement by Communications Professors Concerning Recent Discourse of the McCain/Palin Campaign, October 23, 2008

"In recent weeks, the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin has engaged in such incendiary mendacity that we must speak out. The purposeful dissemination of messages that a communicator knows to be false and inflammatory is unethical. It is that simple."

Pastor Rick Warren, in his wisdom, held a civil forum early in the campaign. He gave his blessings to both candidates, who are both his friends, preventing dehumanization.

A Time for Calming - Political Therapy

Polls are showing that Obama is ahead, and may win with a mandate if there is a legitimate election, unchanged by fraud. With an Obama victory, some will be terrified.

We need politicians, especially thoughtful Republicans, religious leaders, TV and radio talk show hosts, celebrities, community leaders and the candidates themselves to act before the election to calm fears and begin healing.

This requires 1 - Empathy for the depth of people's fears 2 - Familiarity with the messages they receive 3 - Familiarity with their belief systems 4 - Ability to communicate specifically in their language 5 - A compassionate tone of calming rather than judgment or making them worng

We need pervasive, direct, emphatic, deliberate reassurance and calming of manipulated fears, such as:

* Obama and McCain publicly declare together, that whatever happens they will work together to heal the divisions, form a unity cabinet, and find respectable places for each to serve the country.

* Thoughtful Republican leaders, as McCain supporters, can say if Obama wins we will be fine, calling for acceptance, and unity. They will work with Obama to represent their interests. Obama can say that he will work with Republican advisors and appear with them.

* Obama can speak directly to calm those who fear him., acknowledging and speaking deeply to their worries about race.

* If Obama wins, many will be exuberant and rejoice. They should not gloat and be magnanimous, compassionate, and reassuring towards those who are upset.

* Obama and McCain can emphasize post-partisan, beyond red/blue rhetoric and stop language blaming the other party. Obama should reach out to Republican colleagues to strengthen bonds.

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Visiting Scholar Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution George Mason University

Diane Perlman is a clinical and political psychologist, devoted to applying knowledge from psychology, conflict studies and social sciences to designing strategies and policies to reverse nuclear proliferation, to drastically reduce (more...)
 

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