Two Americans talk about political differences

The author is a contributing columnist based in Chicago

I can think of nothing worse than spending weeks immersed in the news media favored by people whose political views I hate. But that’s exactly what a group of “red” (conservative) and “blue” (liberal) voters in my home state of Illinois did for most of May.

they agree “Go a mile in my news” with voters from the other side of the American political divide. The grassroots group that brought them together, the Braver Angels, wants to break down America’s “media silos.”

This means more than just reading articles from all over the world political Divide, but understand those whose articles are gospel truths to them. Its purpose is to build human bridges to help heal a country where partisans increasingly believe hostile voters are not only wrong, but stupid and evil.

“I’d love to hear why other people think that way — not just ‘Oh, they’re idiots!'” said Mary Lou, a retired, 70-year-old Catholic school-educated. “It’s very different from when I was a kid, when you didn’t even know what your neighbors thought. Now people choose neighborhoods based on their political views.”

Marylou is paired with a woman half her age. Based on their age alone – not to mention unconscious bias – I’m sure I know which is which. Mary Lou is red, and her partner, a Chicago school teacher in her 30s who prefers to remain anonymous, is blue.

But I’m sorely wrong, maybe it proves that I need to media Re-education even outnumbers those who actually sign up.

Libertarian Mary Lou had planned to break down her news silos by listening to the same stories covered by PBS and leading conservative broadcaster Fox News — which includes PBS. “But I can’t even find Fox News on my TV,” she exclaimed exasperatedly, showing how difficult it is to escape our media quarters, even for the very few who are willing to try.

Mary Lou’s red partner said she wanted to connect with blue on an “intuitive” level. “I consider myself red, my parents are red, and my initial thoughts are still red,” she told me in an interview. “But I want to stop tribalism.”

The women dealt with a inflammatory news story earlier this month that fueled satire in rival media: a racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, which many U.S. Democrats blame on conservatives send media.

The two even dabbled in the topic “The Great Alternative Theory”an idea endorsed by the suspect in the Buffalo shooter, arguing that Democrats are trying to gain political power by encouraging more like-minded voters to immigrate over white conservative votes.

Ironically, Mary Lou found herself explaining the theory to her red counterpart, not the other way around. “We were able to talk about it because Mary Lou wasn’t condemned. If I felt condemned, I believe my blood would go up because that’s what happened, but she was just explaining what she read,” the school teacher Tell me later. She plans to listen to more PBS in the future, as Mary Lou does. “Maybe one day we’ll have tea.”

But even those who can’t have tea with political enemies can still walk a mile in the news with the help of sites Tangle Media, The Flip Side and AllSides, which curate hostile views on the subject every day.

Isaac Saul, 31, the founder of Tangle, said: “We are all living in an orchestrated news bubble and we get the type of news we already want to see. We want to poke Burst the bubble. This has nothing to do with kumbaya, no appetite for it, but an appetite for “there must be something I’m missing.”

Or, in the words of social psychologists Jonathan Hayter In his groundbreaking 2008 ted talk“You can’t just rush in and say, ‘You’re wrong, I’m right’ because everyone thinks they’re right”.

Hats off to the brave angels as they encourage Americans to try what Haidt calls “moral humility” instead — or in less drastic times, what used to be called an open mind.

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