Respectful Political Conversations: A Resource Guide
By MICHAEL ERARD
This sidebar is a supplement to The Architecture of Trust
While today’s divisive political climate can certainly feel discouraging, the good news is that it has spawned a fertile variety of projects that aim to make discussion of the day’s issues more civil, more informed, and (one hopes) more productive. Here are the main players on the stage at the moment:
- One of the early pioneers, and now the leader, in the art of political dialogue is The Village Square. Although the organization is based in Tallahassee, Florida, it has been gradually sprouting chapters in other cities across the U.S.
- A recording of Village Square’s “Created Equal and Breathing Free” session that’s described in our story, “The Architecture of Trust.”
- Respect & Rebellion, The Village Square’s project for college campuses.
- Braver Angels, a group founded in 2016 in New York City that stages “Red/Blue Workshops” and other programs around the country designed to change how opposing camps talk to, and about, one another.
- Living Room Conversations is a civic dialogue project started by Joan Blades, a co-founder of MoveOn.org.
- Heterodox Academy, a project founded in 2015 by moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt and several colleagues. The organization seeks to increase “ideological diversity” in academic research and other areas of higher education.
- The Bridge Alliance, a collection of organizations dedicated to civic engagement, community self-governance, and cross-partisan dialogue.
- The Listen First Project, a simple but highly effective program started in 2013 by Pierce Godwin, a Washington, D.C. refugee turned international advocate for just listening, really listening, to people of backgrounds and beliefs that are different from yours.
- Table Tribes is a project that tries to encourage civic dialogues by delivering a variety of media pieces through an app.
- The AllSides dictionary is a tool aimed at building awareness (and acceptance of) multiple points of view. One part technology platform, one part news site, and one part bias rating system, AllSides is dedicated to reducing polarization.
- A discussion guide from Showing Up For Racial Justice’s Thanksgiving conversation project.
- Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an organization led by prominent public officials, former officials, and other business and civic leaders focused on fiscal policy. The organization has created a range of sub-groups, white papers, and other initiatives (such as FixUS) aimed at identifying, and then neutralizing, “the root causes” of the country’s gaping political divisions.
- And finally, a blog post from a food reform website, talking about words not to use with conservatives