It is vogue for us to use the term a polarized America. But if one chooses to make themselves approachable, it becomes clear that the deep polarization of America is a necessary myth.
Is America really that polarized?
August was an eventful month for our activism. I participated in a Bridge Alliance conference titled “Co-creating Social Cohesion in the United States: Connecting and wiring the pro-democracy system to support future society” at the beginning of August. I attended the yearly Netroots Nation 2022 conference in the middle of August. These conferences have two distinct flavors, and I enjoyed them both.
Bridge Alliance is an aggregation of scores of organizations of every ideological stripe. Its name is probative. The intent is to build bridges where too many see canyons of divides. It is a necessary organization that goes beyond the notion that we are too polarized to coexist. After all, if that is true, the existence of the United States is untenable.
Netroots Nation is a conference where Progressive bloggers, writers, activists, and politicians gather to learn, define strategies, and develop policy positions and messaging. While one may view this type of gathering as ideologically pure and one-sided, the first thing one finds is that even among one purported ideology, differences can be as vast within as without.
When the mainstream media talks about polarization, it generally defines it as a list of ideologies placed in either a right or a Left bucket. That is simplistic, and it creates an ideal environment for ceding control of our economy, social being, and entire existence to the few who control the flow into those buckets.
At the “Co-creating Social Cohesion in the United States” conference, I watched people of substantially different ideologies listen to each other and like each other. When we did exercises to determine what people need and want, it was clear that messaging, and language play a more significant part in our supposed polarization than the reality of people’s positions.
I interviewed over 40 people at Netroots Nation. One could immediately realize that the values they promoted were values all working-class and middle-class Americans wanted. I could not come up with an economic policy explained that most conservatives and progressives would not agree on in every aspect.
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