Daily Resource Highlight - 05/16/2022

Posted by on May 16, 2022 at 3:39 PM

Below are the highlights and featured resources of this past week’s Daily* Resource.

May 10, 2022 - Democracy Would Be Easy If Everyone Agreed With Me 

The subject line of this email is obviously tongue-in-cheek, but it gets at an important point when we talk about “bipartisanship” and “compromise” in lawmaking. As both Layla Zaidane (of Millennial Action Project) and Robert Talisse mention in this Divided We Fall article, when Americans talk about compromise, what they mean is that the “other side” should come to their perspective.

But what is “their perspective”? The easy answer is “conservative” or “progressive,” but most people are far more complex. For instance, a friend of mine is fiercely pro-life (conservative), but also doesn’t like the government controlling medical choices, even with abortions (progressive) – so she likely doessn’t want Roe v. Wade overturned? And Common Ground Committee recently interviewed a gun enthusiast who wants more gun control. But what would he say is sensible gun control?

What all of this says to me is that democracy wouldn’t be easy if everyone just got on-board with Ideology X or Y, because people are usually more nuanced under the surface (as many people found out during NWOC). It also means we need to get better at having conversations in order to truly understand each others’ needs and values – and Bridge Alliance members can help with that!

For these conversations to happen, though, people need to feel comfortable sharing their opinions. And that won’t happen if, as this AllSides article discusses, people are scared to share their views “for fear of retribution or shaming.” That article focuses on the media’s role in ostracizing conservatives, but the problem runs deeper than that.

But that’s a topic for another day.

May 12, 2022 - Are You An Everyday American? Braver Angels Wants To Give You A Voice

I often hear politicians claim to represent “everyday Americans.” But what is an “everyday American”? As our nation becomes more diverse, that concept becomes harder to define. We know from Bridge Alliance's 2021 Diversity Report that the nation is divided nearly 50/50 by gender, ideology (based on party leaning), and race/ethnicity (Non-Hispanic White and BIPOC+). 

The better question, then, might be who isn’t being heard, and how do we give them a voice? Braver Angels’ “We the People’s Project” is focused on the majority of Americans without a four-year college degree (65% of the population). If that describes you, then fill out this form to join the Project and its growing coalition of working-class Americans. As an added bonus, Braver Angels may ask you to share your experiences and ideas on a panel this summer!

Of course, working-class Americans aren’t the only ones whose voices are being lost in the shuffle. America’s teachers, for instance, are rarely quoted in media coverage of K-12 education, according to Public Agenda’s Teachers In The News Project. For K-12 teachers at faith-based schools, Civic Spirit wants to offer support with their Educators’ Cohort Program, which offers peer support, resource sharing, and more. Applications for the next cohort are due May 20th.

Finally, FairVote’s Dubious Democracy Project shows that, when it comes to U.S. House elections, a number of states are seeing low voter turnout, uncompetitive elections, and large differences between party preference and seats won by that party. As an example, New York was ranked dead last for “Voter Consensus,” with just 26% of the voting age population choosing its winners (meaning 74% of voting age New Yorkers have a representative they didn’t vote for).

In other words, we have a lot of work to do to give a voice to “everyday Americans.” This is not just an elections problem, or a media problem, or a movement problem – this is a challenge for America as a whole. Fortunately, Bridge Alliance members are determined to do their part to meet the challenge and help Americans take their power back.