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Divorce mediation applied to Congress: Why not?

You can almost hear Americans across the country, from Georgia to California and all points in between, cheering on Carol Bailey as she readies for her stated task next week.

That chore: Tracking down every single member of the United States Congress and handing them a copy of something she has written that they really should read.

The title: Easing Congressional Gridlock: A Divorce Mediator’s Guide for the Union that can’t Dissolve.

Bailey might strike some people as being akin to a messianic presence about to beam in on Washington, D.C. It’s certainly not hard to picture her as a school teacher poised to deliver a stern tongue lashing to a bunch of recalcitrant kids, while at the same time rallying them to act reasonably and in the best interests of the family.

The family is of course quite large, comprising the entire population of the United States. It is certainly evident through surveys and polls that a flatly huge number of family members are more than just a bit vexed and put out by legislators’ stubborn and uncompromising behavior over the past few years.

Bailey likens Congress to a marriage that can never result in divorce. Notwithstanding the eternal union, though, she believes that divorce mediation principles that work well for many divorcing couples can apply with equal utility on Capitol Hill, helping to restore some civility and common ground.

It’s hard not to wish her well. It’s also hard to not acknowledge the crowd she will be dealing with, which is obviously a tough audience.

Bailey doesn’t seem deterred, though, even while she concedes that the group she is attempting to influence engages in “tiresome bickering while neglecting the needs of the family.”

Application of some established mediation principles can restore order and functionality across the political aisle, she says.

Mediation works well as a divorce tool and strategy in a number of dysfunctional marriages. Why can’t it improve things in Congress, the most dysfunctional marriage of all?

Source: Politico, "Divorce mediator wants to help Hill," Patrick Gavin, Jan. 10, 2014

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