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Gen-Z & the New Center | Manu Meel with John Wood Jr.


Manu Meel and the students of the cross-partisan campus group BridgeUSA are the vanguard of the civic bridge-building movement nationwide. 

What characterizes the 20-year-olds who are working across the divide to save American democracy, and what is the theory of change that defines the bridging/depolarization movement writ large? Does this work imply a centrism in defense of the status quo? Or is it an effort to establish a new type of political “center” that’s not about political ideology at all? BridgeUSA co-founder and CEO Manu Meel tackles all of this and more with Braver Angels national ambassador John Wood Jr. 

Learn more about BridgeUSA’s work at, and follow them on Instagram at @BridgeUSA_.

Twitter: @braverangels@JohnRWoodJr@manumeel1@BridgeUSA_ 


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2 thoughts on “Gen-Z & the New Center | Manu Meel with John Wood Jr.”

  1. Simone Boutet

    Manu is impressive!
    The work of depolarization needs to focus, not just on why to do it, but on how. Yes, we can engage in conversations, but at scale, how do we get people to calm down? Politicians engage their constituencies through anger. Negative campaign messaging invokes anger and anger is an activating emotion. Campaigning on empathy and bipartisanship does not invoke activating emotions. We need to educate people to recognize that they are being manipulated to become angry for political gain, and educate them in how to move out of anger. We can talk about all the good reasons to depolarize, but IMO, we need to address the emotional causes of polarization, anger, fear, and distrust.

  2. This was an amazing use of an hour of my time! It is always a joy for me, as a Member of Braver Angels, to hear John Wood, Jr., our National Ambassador, share time with others for a conversation relative to the Mission of Braver Angels and others in this “Bridge Building” Space.
    Thank you, Manu and John!
    I have heard about “BridgeUSA” many times since first joining Braver Angels in February of 2021, but I knew very little about the organization. What an amazing and altruistic young man Manu Meel is!
    I found the discussion, which I carefully listened to, to be very enlightening and inspirational! Many of Manu’s comments were very illuminating in helping me to see other dimensions to this topic which I had not considered. His sincere desire to encourage and help build better understanding (not with the primary intent of changing minds) of one another is, I believe, the most essential and strongest foundation for the America we all hope for.

    “People want different types of change.,,, I, and others like you (Braver Angels) is here to litigate the theory (the how) of change.”

    As a mother of two, grandmother of five, aunt of four and great aunt of four, I have a meaningful stake in the future welfare of America’s social and political environment. I want the same, and even better, prospects for my loved ones and their neighbors as Americans and world citizens.
    Before being directed to Braver Angels by caring friends (one from each side of the aisle) I was living with a broken heart over the division, vitriol and hatred I witnessed on my TV screen and seemed to hear about daily.
    At 64 years of age, committed to being the best human being that I can, reflecting wholesome and important values to my family and others, I found myself so disheartened and confused. The world seemed to have gone MAD! It felt like the Twilight Zone. 😵‍💫
    The day that I went to the website and began to deeply research Braver Angels was the day I gained new hope and became an excited and hopeful Member. More than a year later it has not disappointed!
    I have less life ahead of me than what is behind, but I’m thankful that Braver Angels has given me a meaningful way to share some of my remaining energy for the love of my family and others.

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