Polarization

Overview
As we approach the 2020 elections, we are aware of our political differences. Some polarization is a natural part of an election as a way of differentiating between political parties and candidates, but today we are increasingly seeing Americans who vote for other parties not just as different or wrong, but as morally corrupt, evil. Contributing to this, based on our politics, we read different news sources that support our existing narratives. This kind of polarization can halt progress on important policies–even ones with  a majority of the country’s support—sparking anger and resentment in politics, fraying our social fabric, and leading more people to fear the potential for violence.
Round 1 (~3 minutes)

REVIEW THE TECHNICAL GUIDELINES

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Round 2 (~5 minutes)

Introductions: Why We're Here

Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
Round 3 (~2 minutes)

Conversation Agreements: How We'll Engage

These will set the tone of our conversation; each participant should take turns reading one of them aloud.

  • Be curious and listen to understand.
  • Show respect and suspend judgment. 
  • Note any common ground as well as any differences. 
  • Be authentic and welcome that from others. 
  • Be purposeful and to the point. 
  • Own and guide the conversation. 
Round 4 (~5 minutes)

Getting to Know Each Other

Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:

  • What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are?
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Round 5 (~20 minutes)

Polarization

Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows.

  • How have you experienced polarization in the last few years? What, if anything, has changed in your own behavior?
  • What do you see as your responsibility to hear a different side?
  • Are you aware of a positive outcome arising from a new understanding of a different perspective? What happened?
  • What do you wish someone else would do to address polarization?
  • What could you do to address polarization?
Round 6 (~5 minutes)

Reflecting on the Conversation

  • What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this conversation?
  • What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
  • How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?
When you have completed this round, say goodbye to your partners and close your browser to exit the conversation.