“If Congress can’t talk to each other, we can”
A dispatch from Nashville
On Saturday, July 8th, Better Angels brought together 8 local Republicans and 8 local Democrats for a day-long workshop at Lipscomb University in southern Nashville, TN.
The gathering wasn’t meant to change anyone’s political stances — but rather to give the participants an opportunity to talk and listen without being defensive or argumentative.
At a time when partisan hostilities are threatening to tear our country apart, these 16 Tennesseans committed to having an honest, respectful discussion about their views, values, and yes, Donald Trump.
“It seems like we’ve been manipulated to dislike each other more than we do,” said one participant after a discussion of common stereotypes on both sides.
“I learned that it’s not so black and white” said another.
“We have deeply opposing world views, but in a Democracy, you don’t have to have universal agreement, you just have to act together and talk together,” concluded a third.
By the end of the day, the participants had learned skills to better understand each others’ perspectives, discover areas of commonality, and form relationships of respect that help them work together in their communities.
Eight of the participants even agreed to draft a forthcoming joint statement about what they’re taking away from the gathering. Stay tuned for that, while Better Angels rolls on to Columbus, OH.