The crisis we seek to solve
We focus on the crisis of affective polarization, understood as the process of society separating into antagonistic groups that do not trust or know each other. This crisis erodes trust in each other and in institutions, produces policy gridlock, coarsens public debate, segregates us, thwarts empathy, harms our personal relationships, weakens our intellects, and lowers the caliber of our citizenship. It means the steady loss of civic capacity. Effective self-government depends on what this form of polarization destroys.
An America of civic virtue and robust citizenship.
Where freedom rings.
Where civic friendship is not destroyed by political disagreement.
Where we are dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal.
An America of multitudes, all yearning to breathe free, bound together by patriotic empathy.
Where civil society flourishes.
Where we stick together and care for one another.
Where we can trust each other and our institutions.
An America where we sing our shared story in many ways, each song needing the others in order for America to be herself.
Where we are a City on a Hill and the land of Live Free or Die, E Pluribus Unum, the Trail of Tears, and the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments.
Where we are a people of Liberty and Justice for All, In God We Trust, Lift Every Voice, the Beloved Community, and other bright rays of a common American hope, each a needed part of the whole, some from our past and some waiting to be born.
Where our differences not only divide us, but also strengthen and complete us.
The changes we seek
Rising trust in one another as valued and welcome fellow citizens.
Rising trust in civic, religious, and governmental institutions.
More participation in voluntary associations.
More involvement in civic and political activities.
More Americans across the political spectrum believing that what unites us is more important than what divides us.
And that our democracy is working well.
And that Congress is doing a good job.
And that the media are generally honest and fair-minded.
And that higher education is working well.
Bring Americans together to bridge the partisan divide and strengthen our democratic republic.
Our First Principles
An effective movement to depolarize America depends decisively on equal participation of red and blue Americans.
It’s necessary and possible to generate a virtuous cycle in which a critical mass of organized individuals work together to change institutions, and changed institutions in turn encourage more individual change.
This virtuous cycle can be ignited and accelerated by compelling public narratives.
Success requires overlapping networks working together to achieve shared goals.
The Braver Angels Way
We state our views freely and fully, without fear.
We welcome opportunities to engage those with whom we disagree.
We treat people who disagree with us with honesty and respect.
We seek to disagree accurately, avoiding exaggeration and stereotypes.
We look for common ground where it exists and, if possible, find ways to work together.
We believe that all of us have blind spots and that none of us are not worth talking to.
We believe that, in disagreements, both sides share and learn. In Braver Angels, neither side is teaching the other or giving feedback on how to think or say things differently.
Engage in intensive outreach to working-class, rural and small-town, red-leaning, young, and people-of-color America. Strive to reach red/blue balance at all leadership levels; triple the number of red members.
Tell the American story
Expand the reach of our podcast, publications, public speaking, scholarly relationships, and media contacts, with special focus on the story of shared American identity.
Embody the value that all have blind spots and all deserve to be heard.
Build a network of institutional partnerships
Develop strategically important partnership initiatives to scale our program, increase our mission impact on society, and reach grasstops leaders nationally.
Improve event delivery
Achieve high-volume, cost-effective, quality-controlled event development and delivery (workshops, debates, special programs).
Expand our field leadership
Major growth in Alliances, state coordinators, workshop moderators, debate chairs, and event organizers and managers to support 2030 goals.
Sustain membership growth
More than double the number of dues-paying members.
Improve the member journey
More effectively welcome new members and on-board them into active roles.
Improve online infrastructure
Help technology empower our leaders.
Develop and track key performance metrics and conduct an evaluation of our program.
Influence American music
Increase the number, quality, and success of American songs and musicians inspired by the Braver Angels Way.
Influence political leaders and institutions
Members and Alliances work with and influence political leaders and institutions to build a political culture of goodwill.
Influence higher education
Shift campus culture and practices toward greater respect for heterodoxy and open discourse.
Culminate our campaign to influence institutions in the Fall of 2022
Concretely impact the mid-term elections and the launch of the 2022-23 academic year.