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Bridging Divides

The United States is facing a cultural crisis. Increasingly in America today, we don’t just disagree; we distrust, dislike, even despise those who see the world differently. Animosity for positions is becoming contempt for the people who hold them. Difference and disagreement are deeply personal as we rage against and recoil from those we see as enemies across widening divides—political, racial, religious, economic and more. Most of us see fewer things that bind Americans together today and have few or no friends from the other side. The rate of loneliness has more than doubled to nearly 50%, creating a public health epidemic. We’re withdrawing from conversations—thereby eroding relationships and understanding—which threatens the foundational fabric of America. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level, and 56% believe it will only get worse. Our condition is rapidly deteriorating into what’s now being described as a soft civil war.

There’s nothing wrong with passionate beliefs, disagreement, and protest, but it feels like something more dangerous is taking hold. Do you see it? Personally feel it? What’s changed? What can we do about it together? How we can bridge the divides that threaten our future?

Conversation Guides

Reaching Across the Divide (Essential Partners)

Talking Politics (Living Room Conversations)

United or Divided (Living Room Conversations)

Bridging the Political Divide (National Institute for Civil Discourse)

A House Divided: What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want? (National Issues Forums)

Bridging Divides Conversations

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 05:30 PM EDT
Fort Mill Public Library in Fort Mill, SC

Communicating with Care - Living Room Conversations at the Fort Mill Public Library

Join us for our initial Living Room Conversations meeting where we will be learning how to discuss difficult topics with kindness and empathy. This is the first in a series that will feature hot topics. If you'd like to read more about Living Room Conversations, you can check out their website.

Register by going here.

RSVP
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 06:00 PM EDT

Better Angels Debate

A Better Angels Debate is a different kind of debate in which a group of people think together, listen carefully to one another, and allow themselves to be touched and perhaps changed by each other’s ideas. When done well, everyone walks out a little closer to the truth, more aware of the validity in opposing views, and with tighter community relationships. Debates encourage the passionate and energetic expression of ideas; allow for the expression of nuance and ambiguity; allow people to admit that they are not really sure which side they support when that’s the case.

Learn more and register here!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 06:00 PM EDT
Queens Library at Forest Hills in Forest Hills, NY

Let's Talk Democracy presents: Democracy in Peril

Join us as Michael Krasner, Professor of Political Science at Queens College, returns by popular demand to present Can Democracy Survive? – a 5-week civics series that focuses on the threats to our current democracy and what we can do to defend it. He will cover the benefits and vulnerabilities of democracies in the modern world, highlight those that are under attack today, discuss issues and causes that are weakening our democracy and possible responses to these worrisome trends.  Don’t miss this free, informative journey to empowerment through better understanding of our times. 

ADMISSION IS FREE

www.letstalkdemocracy.org

About Prof. Michael Krasner

Queens College Political Science Professor Michael Krasner is an expert in American government and politics. As co-director of the Taft Institute for Government at Queens College, he works to expand and enhance citizen participation by promoting a better understanding of the political process. 

RSVP
Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 07:00 PM EDT
Enterprise Grange #48 in Richmond, ME

What are American Values: A Make Shift Coffee House Conversation

What are American Values? What does America stand for? What does it mean to be patriotic? Or unpatriotic? This interactive event will discuss these and related questions to help us understand one another and the issues - versus debating them. Our purpose is to understand each other's views about American values and where those views come from.

As with all Make Shift Coffee Houses, this will not be a debate. We aim to learn about and understand each other’s political views, talk with our neighbors, and enjoy good company.

All are welcome! No advance registration or tickets required.

Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, Independents, Undecided…we want to hear from everyone!

Click here for specifics about the format and what it's like to attend a Make Shift Coffee House.

For directions, click on this Google Map.

 

Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 09:00 AM PDT

Better Angels Red/Blue Workshop (day-long)

Red/Blue Workshops bring together 5-7 Republican or conservative-leaning citizens and 5-7 Democratic or liberal-leaning citizens for a day of structured conversations. Here’s what you can expect to get out of a workshop: Better understand the experiences and beliefs of those on the other side of the political divide. Find areas of commonality in addition to differences. Learn something that might be helpful to you and to others in your community and the nation.

Learn more and register here!

Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 12:00 PM EDT

Better Angels Red/Blue Workshop (day-long)

Red/Blue Workshops bring together 5-7 Republican or conservative-leaning citizens and 5-7 Democratic or liberal-leaning citizens for a day of structured conversations. Here’s what you can expect to get out of a workshop: Better understand the experiences and beliefs of those on the other side of the political divide. Find areas of commonality in addition to differences. Learn something that might be helpful to you and to others in your community and the nation.

Learn more and register here!

Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 12:00 PM CDT

Better Angels Depolarizing Within Workshop

Much of today’s polarization is driven by how we talk with like-minded people about those on the other side. Too often, we stereotype, dismiss, or ridicule our fellow citizens who support the other political party, its leaders, and its policies. This workshop teaches participants: How to be more aware of their own "inner polarizer." How to be critical without demonizing, dismissing, or stereotyping large swaths of the population. Strategies for intervening constructively in social conversations with like-minded peers when these conversations veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views.

Learn more and register here!

Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 01:00 PM EDT

Better Angels Skills Training Workshop

Skills Training Workshops can be done with any size group and any mix of red (conservative) and blue (liberal/progressive) participants. Skills workshops do the following: Provide you with the knowledge of what it takes to have constructive, non-polarizing conversations between people who disagree politically. Give you the chance to practice the skills to have these conversations. Motivate you to have these conversations with people in your social network.

Learn more and register here!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 03:00 PM EDT

Virtual LRC Conversation on Guns and Responsibility

A 90-minute conversation with optional 30-minute Q & A with hosts. Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-7 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share and learn. No preparation is required.

See the conversation guide and register here!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 05:30 PM PDT

Better Angels Skills Training Workshop

Skills Training Workshops can be done with any size group and any mix of red (conservative) and blue (liberal/progressive) participants. Skills workshops do the following: Provide you with the knowledge of what it takes to have constructive, non-polarizing conversations between people who disagree politically. Give you the chance to practice the skills to have these conversations. Motivate you to have these conversations with people in your social network.

Learn more and register here!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 06:00 PM EDT
Queens Library at Forest Hills in Forest Hills, NY

Let's Talk Democracy presents: Democracy in Peril

Join us as Michael Krasner, Professor of Political Science at Queens College, returns by popular demand to present Can Democracy Survive? – a 5-week civics series that focuses on the threats to our current democracy and what we can do to defend it. He will cover the benefits and vulnerabilities of democracies in the modern world, highlight those that are under attack today, discuss issues and causes that are weakening our democracy and possible responses to these worrisome trends.  Don’t miss this free, informative journey to empowerment through better understanding of our times. 

ADMISSION IS FREE

www.letstalkdemocracy.org

About Prof. Michael Krasner

Queens College Political Science Professor Michael Krasner is an expert in American government and politics. As co-director of the Taft Institute for Government at Queens College, he works to expand and enhance citizen participation by promoting a better understanding of the political process. 

RSVP
Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 07:00 PM EDT

Virtual LRC Conversation on More Curious, Less Furious

A 90-minute conversation with optional 30-minute Q & A with hosts. Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-7 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share and learn. No preparation is required.

See the conversation guide and register here!

Saturday, November 02, 2019 at 12:00 PM EDT

Better Angels Skills Workshop – Burnt Hills, NY

Skills Training Workshops can be done with any size group and any mix of red (conservative) and blue (liberal/progressive) participants. Skills workshops do the following: Provide you with the knowledge of what it takes to have constructive, non-polarizing conversations between people who disagree politically. Give you the chance to practice the skills to have these conversations. Motivate you to have these conversations with people in your social network.

Contact Dave Rowell (daverowell52@gmail.com)or Eva Galvin (kalvi99@gmail.com) for exact location. 

 

https://www.better-angels.org/event/skills-workshop-burnt-hills-ny/ 

Tuesday, November 05, 2019 at 07:00 PM EST
Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME

What is the Role of Government in America: A Make Shift Coffee House Conversation

What role should government play at local, state, and a national level?
What is the right size of government?
How should government affect your daily life?
What role should government play in:
Immigration?
Healthcare?
Education?
Climate change?
Social justice?
Business regulation?
Other issues?

In this Make Shift Coffee House we will discuss these and related questions.

As with all Make Shift Coffee Houses, this will not be a debate. We aim to learn about and understand each other’s political views, talk with our neighbors, and enjoy good company.

All are welcome! No advance registration or tickets required.

Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, Independents, Undecided…we want to hear from everyone!

Click here for specifics about the format and what it’s like to attend a Make Shift Coffee House.

For directions, click on this Google Map.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019 at 06:00 PM EST
Queens Library at Forest Hills in Forest Hills, NY

Let's Talk Democracy presents: Democracy in Peril

Join us as Michael Krasner, Professor of Political Science at Queens College, returns by popular demand to present Can Democracy Survive? – a 5-week civics series that focuses on the threats to our current democracy and what we can do to defend it. He will cover the benefits and vulnerabilities of democracies in the modern world, highlight those that are under attack today, discuss issues and causes that are weakening our democracy and possible responses to these worrisome trends.  Don’t miss this free, informative journey to empowerment through better understanding of our times. 

ADMISSION IS FREE

www.letstalkdemocracy.org

About Prof. Michael Krasner

Queens College Political Science Professor Michael Krasner is an expert in American government and politics. As co-director of the Taft Institute for Government at Queens College, he works to expand and enhance citizen participation by promoting a better understanding of the political process. 

RSVP
Wednesday, November 06, 2019 at 06:30 PM EST
Searsmont Town Library in Searsmont, ME

How Do Labels Work For You: A Make Shift Coffee House Conversation

Are your political views different from the labels?

Do you fall in line with political party ideals?

Why are we so quick to label others?

Please join us to explore political labels, stereotypes, and code words; how they help or hinder, and why we use them.

This is one of a series of three Make Shift Coffee Houses planned for the Waldo County area, Maine, USA. The three events are guided by a local committee co-chaired by Independent, Cathy Roberts and Republican, Patty Keyes.

As with all Make Shift Coffee Houses, this will not be a debate. We aim to learn about and understand each other’s political views, talk with our neighbors, and enjoy good company.

All are welcome! No advance registration or tickets required.

Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, Independents, Undecided…we want to hear from everyone!

Click here for specifics about the format and what it's like to attend a Make Shift Coffee House.

For directions, click on this Google Map.

 

Thursday, November 07, 2019 at 07:00 PM EST

Virtual LRC Conversation on 2020 Election - Concerns & Aspirations

A 90-minute conversation with optional 30-minute Q & A with hosts. Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-7 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share and learn. No preparation is required.

See the conversation guide and register here!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 06:00 PM EST
Queens Library at Forest Hills in Forest Hills, NY

Let's Talk Democracy presents: Democracy in Peril

Join us as Michael Krasner, Professor of Political Science at Queens College, returns by popular demand to present Can Democracy Survive? – a 5-week civics series that focuses on the threats to our current democracy and what we can do to defend it. He will cover the benefits and vulnerabilities of democracies in the modern world, highlight those that are under attack today, discuss issues and causes that are weakening our democracy and possible responses to these worrisome trends.  Don’t miss this free, informative journey to empowerment through better understanding of our times. 

ADMISSION IS FREE

www.letstalkdemocracy.org

About Prof. Michael Krasner

Queens College Political Science Professor Michael Krasner is an expert in American government and politics. As co-director of the Taft Institute for Government at Queens College, he works to expand and enhance citizen participation by promoting a better understanding of the political process. 

RSVP
Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 07:00 PM EST

Virtual LRC Status and Privilege

A 90-minute conversation with optional 30-minute Q & A with hosts. Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-7 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share and learn. No preparation is required.

See the conversation guide and register here!

Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 06:00 PM EST
Queens Library at Forest Hills in Forest Hills, NY

Let's Talk Democracy Advocacy Fair

Join Let's Talk Democracy and local community groups to learn how you can get involved!

RSVP
Wednesday, December 04, 2019 at 06:00 PM MST

"Hot Topics, Cool Heads": A Civil Dialogue about Gun Violence and Safety

How do you have a conversation with someone you disagree with?  For 15 years, the Institute for Civil Dialogue has hosted a format known as Civil Dialogue which allows the members of the public to take a position on a controversial statement and explore it using the ground rules of civility.  The goal is not to persuade, but to explain your viewpoint and model civility. 

RSVP