Finding common ground
By Susanne Janssen
The Braver Angels are bringing back political discourse.
Around 40 people show up on Zoom, and every square not only has a name, but also a letter that marks their political affiliation: B for Blue (Democrat), R for Red (Republican).
One square has two names, one with a B, the other with an R. “Help us save our marriage,” the couple jokes.
What brought us, strangers who had never met, together on a Monday night? One hope: to learn how to dialogue, have meaningful conversations with those holding different opinions and be enabled to work together amidst polarization. The organization offering these workshops is called “Braver Angels,” and its workshops usually fill within minutes.
Moderator Jeff, “barely red,” and his wife, “barely blue,” are seasoned experts in maneuvering through tricky conversations within their own family. Jeff explains the goals of our Zoom meeting: “to learn about the perspectives, feelings and experiences of people from a different political viewpoint.”
At the same time, participants learn how to convey their own perspectives, feelings, and experiences, without offending each other. And, in a best-case scenario, participants discover common ground.
“Tonight”, Jeff explains, “we are not going to talk to those who have the opposite letter in front of their name. We are beginners, so we role play with those who hold similar values”.Continue reading on: