Featured Essays

No Thanks, Joe

When I read a recent account in The Cut recalling an incident with Joe Biden that made a young woman extremely uncomfortable, I wasn’t at all surprised.

In Praise of Joe

I’m not a Democrat. But for all these reasons above and more, I like Joe Biden, a man and politician worthy of praise.

How We Are Divided and Why We Are Polarized

American politics has grown increasingly polarized over the past 20 years, degenerating after the 2016 election and in the Trump Presidency into all-out partisan warfare. Observing from the sidelines, a significant portion of the voting public has begun to sense a real danger in this fracturing of partisan politics, and are searching for solutions.

The Blue Revue: On Trigger Warnings

The language that the left and the right use is often very different. At Braver Angels, we recognize that a language barrier can lead to serious issues when it comes to communicating effectively, and this certainly hasn’t helped us to extricate ourselves from our present loggerheads between reds and blues.

Why I am a Conservative

When I first joined Braver Angels and had to claim my political leaning, it wasn’t easy. I’ve been registered as an independent my whole life, and have voted for Republicans, Democrats, and even third-party candidates. With our Founding Fathers, I’m skeptical of factions, and political parties themselves—especially in our current primary system—seem to be one of the main forces driving our polarization.

Encouraging Honesty by Offering Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of forgiveness. As humans who regularly do plenty of awful things, we’re all in need of a fair amount of it. And our elected leaders are certainly no exception.

Finding Common Ground on Immigration

As I write this, President Trump has recently declared a national emergency in order to increase funding, beyond what Congress has already approved, for extending a physical barrier at the Southern border.

From the Left: The Tone Police Have a Noise Complaint

We at Braver Angels are on a mission to depolarize America. Usually, that means we try to help people have more productive conversations across the acrimonious political divide which currently separates us. It’s important to recognize, though, that the acrimony isn’t restricted to dialogue between members of different groups.

There Are Evils Worse Than Racism

Growing up in the United States of America—a nation defined in many minds by its fraught racial history—and observing public life at a time when racial sensitivities are constantly prodded and enflamed, it is easy to think that there is no greater sin in the world than racism.

How to Kill Public Service

Among the many, many collateral damages caused by our current hyper-partisanship and political dysfunction, killing the notion of public service in the next generation will inflict the most lasting damage to our democracy.

The State of Division

For the first time in American history this month, however, the Speaker of the House of Representatives specifically declined to invite the President to address the assembled houses of Congress on the state of the union.

Lashing Out in Defense

Rupa Ray’s experiences at the Phish concerts are generally very positive, but every so often she catches a glimpse of a different undercurrent that runs beneath the outward openness.

Walking the Line

Can we be honest with each other about our feelings while protecting one another from the hurt that this honesty might engender?

Dreading the Thanksgiving Table

For the past two years, Thanksgiving has been one of the most painful times of year for many Americans. Even if we haven’t lived this story ourselves, just about every one of us has heard from a frustrated friend about their dread over returning home to share a turkey dinner with relatives.

An American Declaration

In June of 2018, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, 150 delegates, half red and half blue, came together to say that the era of polarization must come to an end. They issued a new American declaration, one that declares that the era of polarization must come to an end. That “We the People” not only must heal our nation, we can. They also adopted a set of principles and a program for ending polarization.

Why Come to the Table?

Immediately after the 2016 presidential election, in the thick doldrums of what for me and many of my friends was a genuine tragedy, I started to talk about empathy. I had been finding it tough to come to terms with the beliefs of some of the people I cared about in my life, but I was at least having conversations with them.

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