Big 10: How to Depolarize America

This article originally appeared in The News-Gazette.

Inspired by last week’s local Braver Angels 'Bipartisan Constituent Conversation,' The News-Gazette asked 10 national leaders in the push against polarization: What's your level of confidence that we can become a less divided nation?


Rockefeller Brothers Fund president co-authored Academy of Arts and Sciences’ ‘Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century’

“Democracy is not simply a system of governance or a set of institutions; it is a culture rooted in and sustained through the experience of community. It is through our relations with fellow citizens that we learn the 'habits of the heart,' as Alexis de Tocqueville observed, that animate democratic behavior.

“Social science research indicates that when Americans are given an opportunity to come together and discuss serious issues that matter to their communities, they do not default to extreme partisan positions. Instead, they almost always arrive at sensible, constructive and forward-looking conclusions.

“It is incumbent on us all to seek out, engage with and invest in these places and programs in our own communities that encourage and enable us to work together with our neighbors and rebuild social trust.

“This is not a quick fix but the necessary long-term work of renewing our civic culture.

“If we do it together intentionally, we can reduce polarization and restore faith in our democracy and one another.”


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