Jennifer Senior, in her review of Preet Baharara’s new book, Doing Justice, A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law highlights what she calls his inspired and slightly perverse idea about how to salvage public discourse in 2019: We should take our cues from American criminal trials, in which both parties are obliged to consider flaws in their own arguments and understand the mind-set of the other side. Assertions must be evidence based; research must be rigorous; decorum is paramount. “You can’t call your adversary a ‘low-I.Q. person’” he notes. “You can’t argue the prosecution is political; and you can’t make sweeping biased statements.” And Senior suggests that the first thing we do to turn things around is “revive all the lawyers.” Indeed! www.nytimes.com/2019/03/22/books/review/preet-bharara-doing-justice.html
It should be no surprise that it was easy for me to relate Baharara’s views to mediation. A willingness to critically examine one’s own reasoning and logic, a commitment to civility and respect for others and the ability to listen with the aim to understand are not fuzzy or naïve ideas; instead, they are at the heart of any effective system designed to resolve conflict.