By Margaret Savoie and Thomas Lee
IMC Graduate Students
We see headlines in newspapers and magazines that read “America is Divided,” yet several of us, ourselves included, brush it off – thinking that this division will eventually resolve or someone else will figure it out. While that attitude may suffice for national division, at least in the short-term, what we know is that division extends to our own backyard, to our Grove.
A recent attitudinal survey conducted by University administration found a high percentage of liberal (22%) and conservative (33%) respondents have experienced intimidating and/or hostile conduct based on their political views. As students at the University, this concerns us, and we invite you to help us do something about it.
In his book, The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization, Peter Coleman challenges us to look deep inside ourselves and work with others to fight and learn about the toxic polarization that is tearing our country (and our Grove) apart. One way to do that is by participating in The Finding the Way Out Challenge. Each of the program’s four weeks focuses on a different foundational building block: addressing your own divisive habits, reintroducing honesty and tolerance within your political ingroup, tensions in your more politically estranged relationships, and mobilizing in cross-partisan groups to tackle mutual concerns. The Challenge starts this week to prepare for the 6th annual National Week of Conversation – a week full of opportunities to see people as people, not positions. National Week of Conversation was created for those exhausted by division and hatred. We hope you’ll join us in our journey to bring our passion for issues in an environment where it is also possible to be heard. We welcome all Americans, across our many differences, into conversations that can rekindle relationships and help us relearn how to be the “we” we know we can be. Pre-register for the challenge here.