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April Lawson: Leading Braver Angels Debates


April Lawson, Braver Angels board member and architect of the Braver Angels Debate’s program, sits down with Doug Sprei on the Higher Ed Now podcast (affiliated with the American Council of Trustees and Alumni) to discuss her compelling personal and political journey and Braver Angels uniquely uplifting debate program.

“It does not feel good to hate each other…there is a real hunger
for real conversation and for bonding with people who are super different from you.” -April Lawson

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3 thoughts on “April Lawson: Leading Braver Angels Debates”

  1. I’m 91 and live a very quiet life filled with Quaker Meetings, Al Anon and Yoga. I do not listen to TV or read the newspaper but do speak up about my concerns re money and how it seems to buy people via TV especially Fox News.

  2. Randy McDonnell

    Until the voters prove they can vote out incumbents in significant numbers, politicians will openly act like it is acceptable behavior to
    1) Sell America to the highest bidder and
    2) Anger Americans against each other and the opposing party to
    a. Raise more money and
    b. Assure their re-election in gerrymandered voting districts.
    Your local politician is a master at making you think it’s OK he’s hurting you and our country. Make your decision easy in November and fix our political system BY VOTING AGAINST ALL INCUMBENTS. What’s more important, the best interest of your current incumbent or that of your country?

  3. Hi April, As huge fans of David Brooks, we followed his recommendation to read your “Building Trust” essay. I loved it and appreciated the insights and rationale behind your group’s methods (by the way, I’m a life-long Goldwater/Reagan/Kemp conservative who rejects Trump on grounds of lack of ethics and executive incompetence). My wife (a life-long Republican who was firmly pushed to the “Blue” team by Trump) did not care for it at all. A family debate ensued, with our young adult sons chiming in. My wife’s problem was this: Your “general tendencies” about “Blues” and “Reds” seemed obsolete and inaccurate in the current climate. Specifically, your statement that Blues prefer “emotion-forward” framing, while Reds prefer “Intellect-forward” framing, was particularly problematic to her. She cited the current wide-spread embrace of misinformation, disinformation and a rejection of facts across the Republican electorate, Republican party leadership, conservative media outlets, and Trump himself (and especially), as evidence that your “Intellect-forward” label of Reds is enormously flawed and contradictory to the “general tendencies” that most neutral observers have witnessed (including David Brooks, you might agree). In other words, even with Braver Angels’ method, how can a political divide be bridged when one side is often wed to a false set of facts? Is the current group of Reds really “intellect-forward,” or is that now a contradiction? This was a challenge which we could not overcome. Do you think you could help us answer that question? Thanks!

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