As the leader of the Braver Angels Evaluation Team, I’m excited to say that the numbers are in, and we can report that our workshops are proven to help depolarize Americans.
Following the Braver Angels Way doesn’t only count when we’re in a workshop, at a debate, or attending an alliance meeting. It matters in everything we do. So when we decided to redesign our website, we knew we needed a well-balanced team of Reds, Blues, and Others to work on it together.
On Wednesday, nearly 700 delegates — equally divided between Red and Blue — gathered in Gettysburg at the 2023 Braver Angels Convention. We came together to bridge the partisan divide, bring a spirit of goodwill to our politics, and spark a movement that’s larger than our organization alone.
“People have all the control. If it drops out of favor to be polarized and it becomes cool to collaborate, then we can change it. Politicians want to get elected – they will conform,” Greg said.
“We’ve pushed the envelope a little bit – particularly with developing new workshop ideas – and had to negotiate with the powers that be in order to have quality control and ensure it’s a positive Braver Angels experience. But that is what we do.”
For years, our country’s all-consuming political conflict has made it harder for us to recognize each other’s humanity. But Red/Blue workshops challenge participants to go beyond politics and see each other as people.
Just a day after one of the most controversial and consequential Supreme Court decisions – Roe v. Wade – was overturned, eight Reds and eight Blues from across Massachusetts and New Hampshire gathered together in a Boston College classroom to see if they could find common ground on another hot-button issue: how to ensure trustworthy elections.
“Abortion has been one of the biggest drivers of politics in this area for decades,” Carolyn said. While Jessamine County used to be a reliably Blue area, the association of abortion with Democrats turned Evangelicals in the area into single-issue Red voters, she explained.
Much like how the conception of Braver Angels was a natural response to what American people needed and yearned for, this debate program is “driven by the demand that’s surging in the higher ed space.”
According to the United States Census Bureau, close to 60 million people – or one in five Americans – live in rural areas like this one. Here’s how they stay glued together.
No matter what part of the world he was stationed in, Doug knew in order to find solutions and make a positive impact, he had to understand the culture of the local community and encourage people to work across differences.
Ted said “when you put trust back into democracy, you can face difficult problems,” because a tightly-knit society is harder to penetrate. “This is how you prevent foreign governments from pushing buttons, elevating extremism, and driving people further apart.”
“Being exposed to someone with totally different values and trying to see the world through their lens is invigorating,” David said.
The key to the Central Texas Alliance’s success is its flexibility. “We try to be responsive and meet our members’ needs,” Norman said. “That’s how we keep people engaged.” And they’re always brainstorming ways to reach out.
Teenagers, like most people, feel worn out by the current political climate. Seventeen-year-old Josie Reich has found a new way to be politically engaged.
If we gave working-class people a bigger voice in our political discussions, these conversations would sound “more real,” Annette Ritter, a member of We the People’s Project, said.
Braver Angels, which is fueled by 10,000 members paying twelve dollars in annual dues, allows people to donate directly to an on-the-ground solution.
Political discussions are hard to have over a holiday family meal. However, is avoiding the conversation really the answer?