The following video link demonstrates a pervasive atmosphere on college campuses where anything goes. Most psychologists will tell you that boundaries are healthy in every relationship and can help maintain strong communication and trust between people. Kevin Ford and Dr. James Osterhaus devote an entire chapter titled, “Create Healthy Boundaries,” in their seminal consulting book about organizational health, The Thing in the Bushes. They have used the philosophy to help dozens of organizations, from churches to businesses and government agencies, to assess climate issues and develop healthy paradigms to make their organizations more inclusive and effective.
The following New York Times article describes the controversy on campus surrounding Trump supporters. While the above video demonstrates that almost anything goes, apparently not if you support Donald Trump. Now, FAV is nonpartisan and does not endorse any candidate, and in fact many of our supporters deplore the state of dialogue promoted by many of the candidates, including Trump. That said, in the spirit of free speech, supporters of any political candidate should be free to express their opinions, as long as they do so in a respectful and tolerant manner. This challenge is indicative of the state of political discourse across the country. Too many supporters on both sides vilify opponents and candidates in ways that demean participation in public dialogue. We should welcome diversity of thought to better understand each other and find areas of commonality. Too many people are offended if someone says something they don’t like, but also too many people are obnoxious in how they voice their opinions, intentionally meaning to be provocative and inflame others. Gone seem to be the days when two people could disagree over a substantive issue but still have dinner together afterward and respect each other. Many of Trump’s supporters do no favors in this regard. However, we should seek to understand the underlying issues that lead vast numbers of Americans to support candidates who wield radical ideas that don’t seem to reflect American values. Only then can we begin to address the grievances and move toward a society where E. Pluribus Unum is again a benchmark.
The article linked below describes Belgian parents of former jihadists, many of whom are dead, who have formed a group to help fight back against radicalization. There is a short video included on the CBS website. Germany already has a similar group of mothers, as does Canada. This is something that the U.S. needs in order to help sensitize community leaders to the indicators of radicalization and be preventive in nature. Currently, U.S. government efforts, much like in many European countries, only focus on intervening after potential radicals cross legal thresholds. Civic and faith leaders can play a role by learning about the indicators of possible radicalization and educating other community leaders in order to prevent someone from going too far and ending up in prison or inflicting violence upon innocent people.