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Pre-Election Conversations Help Mend Frayed Social Fabric (Press Release)

In Final Week Before Election Day, New Conversations for Americans of All Stripes Help Mend Frayed Social Fabric

Part of Growing #ListenFirst Movement Driven by 150+ Organizations, New Pre-Election Conversations Focus on Matching Personal Values to Votes and Keeping Family and Friends Above Politics.

Following a week in which political opponents were targeted with bombs and Americans were slaughtered in a place of worship, organizations coast to coast have joined forces on a new National Conversation Project to turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division that 75% of Americans say has reached a crisis level.

One of the leading organizations behind National Conversation Project, Living Room Conversations, has created powerful and timely conversations for the days leading up to next week’s Midterm Elections. The two new conversation guides—Before the Election & Relationships over Politics: Connecting with Friends and Family—are designed to cut through the shrill cacophony playing on our fears and instead help us reflect with others on how our votes can best match our personal values and hopes for the future, as well as how family and friends can successfully navigate the tension of our differences and repair any relationships severed by politics.

75% of Americans say the way we interact with each other across differences has reached a crisis level, and more than 100 million people want to see a national campaign to fix it. The new, collaborative National Conversation Project—encouraging all of us to #ListenFirst to understand—is fueling that movement,” said Pearce Godwin, Executive Director of National Conversation Project and Founder of Listen First Project. “At a moment in American history when heinous violence and another socially polarized election threaten to push us to new lows, there is hope that we can turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division by starting new conversations that bridge divides—move from 'us vs. them' toward 'me and you.' I’m thankful that change-makers such as Living Room Conversations are stepping up in this moment to create the positive social connections that we desperately need.”

Joan Blades, Co-Founder of Living Room Conversations and Moveon.org adds, “The media and politicians are too often rewarded for focusing on our differences. Citizens stepping up to restore connections locally and nationally and refocus us on our shared hopes and dreams are our best hope of creating the kind of future we all want. And, what is really wonderful is how fun and rewarding these conversations are!”

The pre-election conversation guides include questions such as:

  • What is motivating you to vote this year?
  • What or who are you casting your vote to promote? To protect?
  • What do you fear as a result of the election?
  • What do you hope for as a result of the election?
  • What are your early memories of talking politics with family or friends? What things went well?  Was there anything difficult?
  • How could you prepare yourself to listen with genuine curiosity to your family and friends?   
  • When does love supersede politics (and when does it perhaps not)?

What is National Conversation Project?

There is growing, even violent, division in communities across America. The problem is that we increasingly don't just disagree with one another. We dislike, distrust, even despise those who see the world differently. We’re withdrawing from conversations—eroding relationships and understanding—fraying our social fabric. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level. Experts say the solution is to cultivate more positive social connections. Thankfully, 75% of Americans are willing to practice conversations across divides, and 36%—more than 100 million people—want to see a national campaign to that end. National Conversation Project—powered by 150+ organizations—is the platform for that movement.

National Conversation Project seeks to mend the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides one conversation at a time. We promote National Weeks of Conversation, #ListenFirst Fridays, and any conversation inviting people of all stripes to revitalize America together. NCP aggregates, aligns, and amplifies the efforts of more than 150 hosting partners to mainstream conversations in which we #ListenFirst to understand. www.nationalconversationproject.org #ListenFirst


Weber Shandwick, Civility in America VII: The State of Civility

Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion