To bridge divides and move forward on controversial issues, we must have respectful conversations among people from different sides of the spectrum. To do that, we must first find people from the other side willing to join a conversation. Then we must get them together and have a conversation in such a way that all sides will truly respect and listen to one another.
This is generally very difficult and sometimes seems impossible. Currently, there is no easy solution.
AllSides.com, Living Room Conversations and The Bridge Alliance are providing a solution: Mismatch.org.
Mismatch.org will bring people from opposite sides together for meaningful, respectful conversations. It works like a dating site by matching people across divides, and then it guides them through a carefully structured, live conversation over online video conferencing or even in person. Each person starts with background materials for how to participate in a healthy conversation and about the topic of discussion itself, viewing it from different angles and perspectives.
The first stage of this project will focus on students and incorporate a research study to evaluate the impact that this experience has on its participants. It will also provide an educational guide for teachers this fall. Ultimately and through later stages of the Mismatch.org project, a full-featured Mismatch.org will be available not only to schools, but also to communities, organizations, and individuals across the nation.
In a society increasingly divided, hearing and understanding each other is essential not only for the health of our government but also for our communities and in our personal lives and relationships. Mismatch.org will make this possible and easy for everyone.