Featured Essays

‘A faith restoring example’

Following their debate at Denison University in Ohio, students agreed that something profound took place and that the experience had changed them. “I’m asking myself how I can carry this forward to other students,” one student said, “and even more, I’m wondering how we can expand and bring it to a multiplicity of campuses.”

Introducing the Braver Angels Guidelines on Tolerance

We cannot trust each other if we cannot tolerate the differences in our points of view. Still, aren’t some views wrong and perhaps dangerous as well? Braver Angels members and followers deserve a clear understanding of the principles that guide us. That is why we have published these Braver Angels Guidelines on Tolerance so that everyone who participates in and observes Braver Angels may understand exactly what informs our editorial and programming decisions.

Remembering a true Braver Angel

On April 3, Braver Angels and the world lost one of our best leaders. When we lost David Iwinski — a thinker, a bridge builder, and a believer in America — I and many members of our community also lost a beloved friend.

Three Approaches to Conflict

Probably the most important question about social conflict, then, is not whether it exists (it does), or whether we can eliminate it (we can’t), or even whether we should try to eliminate it (we shouldn’t). The real question is how we should approach it.

Ketanji Brown Jackson and the prism of experience

Each of us is a product of our experiences. Understanding them helps us see that which makes the other human. This seems particularly important to me as we watch the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson unfold.

Are you a part of the 32 percent?

I think it’s safe to say most of us have been involved in heated political discussions with family or friends, whether we initiated them or not. But what flipped the switch from polite family discussions about whose turn is it to go pick up groceries to tense discussions about politics?

The crack cocaine era and the spectrum of black experience

This week we released an interview with Lorenzo Murphy, once righthand man to one of the most powerful drug dealers in America during the crack cocaine era: Freeway Rick Ross. The crack era gave rise to the phenomenon of mass incarceration, the decline of inner-city life and a new age of distrust between African-American communities and police. Our current controversies over race cannot be understood without an understanding of what happened to America—and black America—during this particular period of time.

“I never thought of it that way”

It is so much easier to talk about people who disagree with us than with them. But there’s no other way when we’re this polarized, I’ve realized, to let our real perspectives check, challenge, and enrich one another. Nor is there any other way to look past our perspectives to the experiences and values that shaped them — the paths different people walk to their views.

The Right to Bear… Dogs?

And indeed, my feelings about the two issues are fairly similar. Given the numbers, I feel that both pit bulls and guns should be subject to fairly aggressive restrictions. But my certainty over these issues is weakened by my understanding of the good-faith concerns and beliefs of those on the other side.

Days of Infamy, Heroes of Democracy

At each moment, millions of us held our breath, and millions more of us raged in righteous fury, or stood in trembling fear. The stakes of our times shone clear, the twists and turns of American life on bright, terrible display. Each a moment of fury and dread that, still unresolved, lives on. Each a moment, we raged and feared, that would end America as we know it.

Exiles

“We have to be fair, human beings are works in progress… It’s going to take all of us reflecting on ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we still don’t have a problem for people that are different in this country.”

What I Need to Unify Right Now

Without justice, unity is tyranny. Without dialogue, unity is based in falsehood. So how can we reckon with a fractured nation? Is unity, even among friends, possible in my lifetime?

Imposing Our Values: Piece of Cake!

There’s an inherent tension between this desire to enforce common values that we believe are important for creating a free and prosperous society and allowing individual communities within that society to choose their own values, to the exclusion of some chosen by others. So who gets to decide where this line is drawn?

A Firebell in the Night

Our mission at Braver Angels, since the day of our founding a few short years ago and across all the lifetimes and ages that have passed since then, remains what it always has been and always will be: to hold America together by transforming ourselves and loving one another.

The Heroes Of Our Own Stories

I’ve heard several people declare that they are uniquely impervious to the human tendency toward emotionally motivated reasoning. But I tend to conclude instead that this person is the opposite of unique. They’re blind to the impact of their own biases, just like the rest of us.

Kyle Rittenhouse Is Not Who You Think He Is

If you take the time to watch not just the shootings themselves, but the preludes that lead up to them, even in the days preceding, you see a lonely, bullied kid who had sought acceptance and community with a group that claimed to be the allies of the police.

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