Many are concerned about family discord at the Thanksgiving table this year. Holidays are well known to bring out stress. A 2018 survey by the American Psychological Association showed that 38% of people said their stress level increases during the holidays. The COVID pandemic has caused many to focus on the outrage machine of social media, driving our loved ones further and further apart.
Pew Research polls show that our political divide has grown far worse over recent years:
More recent data show that 40% of partisans consider supporters of the other side to be downright evil. Further, that 5% – 15% of Americans in either party endorse violence – depending on the circumstances.
Now more than ever, we need family and mutual understanding, yet with opinions so strongly divided we are at risk of the dreaded family political argument morphing into a battle royale, and potentially creating permanent splits among friends and family.
Some people are taking action to heal our divided culture. Launched in 2016, Braver Angels is a national, grassroots, non-profit organization that seeks to depolarize American politics by transforming our attitudes towards each other. We work to heal the wounds across our partisan Red/Blue divides, in a process that fosters and sustains more civil communities. We champion shared human values such as human dignity, respect, empathy, curiosity, contextual understanding, and deep listening. Together, we discover what it means to be truly ‘American’ in these times.
Braver Angels CT will be hosting a virtual workshop November 14 – Families and Politics, designed to provide insight into why family differences over politics are uniquely challenging. Participants will learn specific strategies and skills for handling family political differences in a constructive way.
Braver Angels workshops are based on extensive experience, sound principles, and the solicitation of input from workshop participants, recognized external leaders, issue-oriented caucuses, and continuous research. As a result, these workshops are thoughtfully conceived — then thoroughly vetted through field testing.
Braver Angels CT is Connecticut’s local alliance under the national Braver Angels organization structure. Braver Angels Alliances are working to build vibrant Red/Blue ‘communities’ where you live. These alliances nurture lasting friendships, continuous learning, and joint initiatives around shared public policy interests. Our alliances are active and self-directed in advancing the work of Braver Angels in local areas. They accomplish important work that can’t be done at the state and federal levels. Each local alliance is led by a Red and a Blue Co-Chair in order to ensure balance in decision making, culture, and operations.
Braver Angels CT has hosted two previous events: a debate asking Should Social Media Should be Regulated, and an information session on Critical Race Theory and its Potential Application in K-12 Education. We expect to offer monthly activities as we move into 2022. We are a growing group committed to opening lines of communication across our divided society and we hope to see you at our future events.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in becoming involved in Braver Angels CT. Visit this site to register for the Nov. 14 Family and Politics workshop. A printable event flyer is available here.
Christopher P. Clouet, Ed.D., of New London is an Assistant Professor of Education, Mitchell College. Al E. Smith, Brookfield, President, Western CT Military Officers Association. They are State Co-Chairs of the Braver Angels CT Alliance.