James Coan

James Coan develops approaches to reduce U.S. political polarization at scale. He’s a strategy consultant for the energy industry, with interests in social psychology, mass communications, and politics. For Braver Angels, he is on the social media team and a member of the DC Alliance. He can be contacted at [email protected]

How to Communicate the Chili Bowl Metaphor of American Identity

In my previous article, I argued that the chili bowl should be America’s new national metaphor. I said that it strikes the right balance between individuality and commonality. A chili bowl has unique and identifiable ingredients, but it is still held together with a single sauce.  People can maintain their unique identities, while also having …

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America: Not a Melting Pot, Not a Salad Bowl, but a Chili Bowl

When working to illustrate what, precisely, Americans of diverse backgrounds have in common with each other, metaphors like the ‘melting pot’ and the ‘salad bowl’ have been used in the past. But neither is as apt and fitting as a dish arguably more delicious than either: the chili bowl. A chili bowl metaphor encourages individuals …

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Our Descent Toward Political Loathing, Resentment, and Distrust—And How We Rise Again

“My country is tearing itself apart. I must do something…but what, exactly?” These were the thoughts running through my head during the 2016 election. It seemed our country– and my Facebook feed– was full of vitriol. It couldn’t lead to good governing, and it couldn’t be healthy for people to constantly be outraged. Yet what …

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