Perspectives: Try taking your enemy to lunch

A few years ago I was invited to participate in a panel discussion hosted by the Sutherland Institute. The list of panelists was a potentially volatile mix that could have made Jerry Springer think twice.

Imagine a sharp-penned liberal newspaper columnist; two cold-hearted Republican state senators; a highly provocative weekly newspaper publisher; a bleeding heart Democratic state representative; and a mild-mannered talk show host all sitting at the same table.

The potential for serious conflict was undeniable. Notwithstanding the tongue-in-cheek labels I’ve used above, it was actually a very productive and enlightening discussion. So how could so many potential adversaries engage in spirited discourse without devolving into a bloodbath?

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