A divorce mediator's guide for Congressional gridlock

SEATTLE -- Seattle divorce attorney Carol Bailey is accustomed to working with couples who bitterly detest each other.

After 30 years as a lawyer and 20 years as a mediator, she's seen spouses filled with dislike reach effective decisions. She compares those bickering couples to the current Congress.

"The Congress are the parents and we are the family members and our family is in crisis and we need some decisions to be made," she said.

But the federal government is one union that can't dissolve.

"Generally, people with a truly dysfunctional relationship can get away from each other, Congress can't," Bailey said. "So my position is since you're stuck with each other, let's work it out."

Bailey has taken what she's learned mediating divorces to develop a divorce mediator's guide to easing Congressional gridlock. She and her husband Steve Medwell, a local surgeon, are heading to Washington, D.C. and plan to pass out Bailey's top ten tips to every member of Congress they find.

She says the same rules that apply to relationships can work in politics too.

1. Know your purpose and don't get distracted.

2. Discipline yourself to avoid negative accusations.

3. Get over yourself: This is not about you or your party.

4. Generate a desire to listen and hear. You don't learn anything new when you are talking.

5. Demonstrate that you believe others have a right to their own point of view by treating them with civility.

6. Check your facts. Opinions are based on "facts" you believe. Make sure yours aren't distorted.

7. There is no way to reach agreement without compromise because the views of all sides must be legitimized.

8. Resist the culture of negativity and lead through inspiring others.

9. Be clear in your thinking and in your speech. Tell others what your goal is and how your plan will accomplish that goal.

10. Laugh with others about our human condition and learn to develop compassion for our shared situation.

Bailey says some people are challenging her mission to the nation's capital but that's not dissuading her.

"I might be naive, waste all my money, might not be one person that reads this, I don't care. I have to do it," she said.

You can read the entire guidebook of strategies here.

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