I have a modest proposal in our age of ever-deepening polarization. My proposal is based on the idea of breaking bread with strangers, like the Pilgrims did with the Wampanoag tribe at Plymouth Colony. In the spirt of the First Thanksgiving, dwell on this for a minute. When Covid finally goes away, two coalitions (maybe three hundred folks each), are formed, each composed of volunteers who think of themselves as open-minded. One coalition is made up entirely of Progressives, while the second is entirely Conservatives. The two sides agree on a three monthlong period to get to know each other as human beings, not stereotypes—and in a very specific way. Basic organizational skills are required, as are cooking skills. The Progressives invite small groups of Conservatives into their homes for dinner and the Conservatives invite Progressives into their homes for a hot meal. One glass of wine only. Politics cannot be discussed, if at all, until dessert in served.
Over the years,i have seen more conflicts and disputes dissipate or even go away over delicious food and the accompanying hospitality. Simple, yes. Corny, not really. Difficult to pull off? Only if no one is serious about healing political wounds that are bleeding our democracy dry.
Michael R. French
Michael French is a graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern University. He is a businessman and author who divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.