So we have already spoken at length about the dangers and detriments to your smarts and accuracy of being stuck in a political echo-chamber of people who just agree with you all the time. We've suggested that you get out of them and start engaging other smart people that don't just tell you what you already believe.
Those of you who've been with us for a while have probably noticed that we haven't put nearly as much love into the Something to ConDinners as we'd like. There have been a lot of hangups to getting this moving again, but suffice to say, we've been quietly hoping for an alternative.
And, luckily, one just dropped into our lap. It's called BridgeUSA, and it's popping up new chapters across American universities, where people across the political spectrum can discuss policy, learn from each other, and productively challenge each other. They're a great team and cut of our own Considerate cloth. And we've decided to officially partner with them.
So if you're in college, I want you to check them out. Here at STC, we talk a lot about the skills of effective, productive political dialogue. But we all need to practice them, and as I've heard time and again, most people don't know a whole lot of smart folks that don't largely agree with them in politics. BridgeUSA's got just what you need. In their words:
BridgeUSA is a national movement committed to spanning the partisan divide on University and College campuses across the country by providing a space where students from across the political spectrum can come together in constructive dialogue concerning public policy issues of national importance. We want to provide an option for political involvement on college campuses that isn't limited to a set ideology, value system, or set of issues. Our objective is simple: to foster dialogue and initiate conversations that both challenge our existing beliefs while revealing the common values we share as Americans. We welcome and encourage all ideas – recognizing the intellectual benefit inherent in a diversity of opinions and backgrounds. bridgeUSA is beyond left and right, liberal and conservative – it is about the future of our country, and the voice of a generation.
This is as important as it gets. Reading about effective political dialogue is great, and we've spilled a lot of ink on it. But getting out there and actually having the conversations is what's going to fix the American democracy. I think young people are in the best position to beat the Wedge in American politics, and I think Universities are the perfect forums to get that momentum moving. There's already tons of passionate, engaged political dialogue going on--we just all need some help sometimes keeping ourselves in the right mindset.
So you're interested? Great, you absolutely should be. Reach out to them to get involved at one of their chapters. Not one on your campus? Great: you can start it. Reach out to get some help on how to get started. It's an incredible opportunity to be a leader in the path forward for the country. Too busy? Of course you're not: if you're politically active, you should know that showing up to rallies and re-posting stuff on social media isn't going to really give the country the long-term change we need (although every 4 years we keep fooling ourselves on this mark...). If you're not active, that's fair: it's sometimes a miserable process full of a lot of vitriol. But this is different: this is where we start re-engaging the middle ground. You should be a part of it.
We're proud to be partnering with BridgeUSA and hope to give them a lot of support as they continue to grow and make some real impact on the ground. I hope that the Considerates are similarly committed enough to get away from the computer screen and get into the mix.