Tell Your Story of Choosing Hope

Share YOUR STORY of when YOU CHOSE HOPE & LOVE over fear and despair.


A collective of stories, songs & art on choosing hope in our lives.

It has been said that to some generations much is given, of others much is asked. Ours is a generation that is defined by both. We live in the richest country in the history of the world. Science has brought all manner of conveniences to us that were unheard of since time immemorial. Yet, most of us are feeling the flip side of this new global growth – isolation, disconnection, and hopelessness about the state of affairs & our collective future.
There is a sinking feeling that as a people we have got stuck in discord & fear – for our communities, our country and our world. The promise of a “more perfect union” seems to be faltering.

We find ourselves at a moment when each of us has a choice to make – give into the status quo of “US” vs. “THEM”, fearing & hating the “OTHERS” who do not understand or agree with us, packing our bags or packing our guns OR we TAKE A STAND ON THE SIDE OF HOPE by refusing to believe the pundits and the doomsayers who are telling us that our fellow Americans are our enemy, and DEFY THEIR DEMANDS to hate each other.

To counter the mainstream media stories of hate & division, Crossing Party Lines is launching a video series called “Choose Hope” featuring stories of regular folks sharing a moment from their lives when they or someone they know faced a situation when it was easy to give in to the status quo of fear, hate & despair 
yet they CHOSE to take the high road of love, hope & goodness to do the right thing.

We can fall into despair, but hope is always a choice.

Share with us your story of how & when you (or someone you know) chose hope in your own life. Maybe you made a friend out of a bully, or maybe your dad chose to be accountable when he could play the blame-game, maybe your mom spoke up for a neighbor who looked different than others in the community, or maybe your friend reached out to you when things were too fraught between you. The unsung choices and acts of hope in everyday life made by ordinary people are what keeps a community and a country alive. The time has come to make those unsung choices be sung and spoken out loud. For fear is contagious, but so is hope. Together, we can form a human wall of hope & humanity against the corrosiveness of our collective despair.

Reach out if you have a story of hope at VMT@CrossingPartyLines.com with the subject “CHOOSE HOPE” and our editing team will send you recording instructions. If you need help telling your story or think you only have a fragment of a story & need help finding the rest of it, reach out and our storyteller team will help you craft it. You can also read my own story “Why Choose Hope“; the inspiration behind this project, at our blog.  

Look inside you and around you for goodness. Choose Hope. Share Hope. Be Hope.


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    The Two Types of Depolarization

    Depolarization — the work of reducing toxic polarization — is best understood in terms of the two types of polarization that shape our interactions and perceptions in today’s politically charged climate:

    1. Affective Polarization

    Affective polarization revolves around emotions and feelings. It refers to the emotional divide between individuals or groups with differing political views. It’s about how people feel about others who hold opposing ideologies.

    • Us vs. Them: In affective polarization, people tend to see those on the other side of the political spectrum as part of an “us vs. them” mentality. Emotions like anger, fear, and distrust often come into play.
    • Emotional Reactions: When encountering someone with opposing views, affectively polarized individuals may experience heightened emotions. They might feel threatened, defensive, or even hostile.
    • Echo Chambers: Social media and personalized news feeds can exacerbate affective polarization by reinforcing existing beliefs and isolating individuals from diverse perspectives.

    2. Cognitive Polarization

    Cognitive polarization focuses on thought processes and cognitive biases. It pertains to how people think about the views of others.

    • Discounting Opposing Views: Cognitive polarization leads to a tendency to discount opposing viewpoints without critically evaluating them. People may jump to conclusions, assuming that differing opinions lack validity or logical soundness.
    • Us vs. Them (Again): Just as in affective polarization, cognitive polarization reinforces the “us vs. them” mindset. It hinders open-mindedness and intellectual curiosity.
    • Intellectual Echo Chambers: Cognitive polarization occurs when people surround themselves with like-minded sources, reinforcing their preconceptions and avoiding exposure to alternative perspectives.

    The Interplay Between Affective and Cognitive Polarization

    Affective and cognitive polarization often feed into each other. Emotional reactions (affective) influence how we process information (cognitive), and vice versa.

    Breaking the Cycle: CPL recognizes that depolarization  requires us to address both affective and cognitive aspects. Encouraging empathy and  active listening is not enough.  We must also teach critical thinking and intellectual humility if we are to truly bridge the gap.

    About Bridging

    Bridging refers to the intentional effort to reduce toxic polarization by fostering understanding, empathy, and communication between individuals or groups with differing political views. It aims to build connections and discover our shared humanity, ultimately bridging the gaps that divides people along ideological lines.