Disagreeing with Grace

Solutions Journalism Network

Extreme polarization does not just make for unpleasant holiday dinners with relatives who don’t see eye to eye on politics. A growing body of evidence has shown that polarization and tribalism can weaken the very foundations of democracy. It seems like almost every day an op-ed appears lamenting that the United States is the most divided it's ever been. Whether or not this is true is beside the point. One need only to look at the gridlock that has seized the highly partisan Congress to see that there are, in effect, two Americas: one red, one blue.

But focusing only on the negative news about polarization can lead to demoralization and a sense of helplessness. Even if you are concerned or passionate about politics, hearing only about what’s going wrong can make you feel discouraged. Therefore, the stories in this collection highlight solutions to the issue of social and political polarization. Members of American civil society are not waiting for Congress to bridge the divide; these stories represent instances where citizens are able to break down partisan divides and reconnect on a human level, showing something so simple, yet so powerful: a willingness to talk.

Click here for more stories in the Solutions Story Tracker on Democracy.