2024 – The Year Ahead

2024 promises to be one of American Politics’ most contentious years ever. We at Crossing Party Lines are doing everything we can to expand our reach so we can help more Americans learn to talk across differences, become informed voters by exploring issues from all angles, and build communities where all voices are heard and appreciated. And...We will need your help.

CPL’s theme for 2024 is “Go Big or Go Home.”

Go Big because 2024 promises to be one of American Politic’s most contentious years ever.  Chaos reigns as the Republican Party waits with baited breath to discover who their candidate will be and whether former president Donald Trump will be allowed to run as the Democratic Party wrestles with responding to challenges at home and abroad in a way that resonates with the American public. Meanwhile, violence is breaking out around the world and at home, and toxic polarization is on the rise (despite the fact that 87% of Americans want to reduce it) because the media and the major parties when they can brainwash us into treating politics as a blood sport.

We at Crossing Party Lines are doing everything we can to expand our reach and help average Americans learn the skills for talking with others whose views are different to their own so they can become informed voters by exploring issues from all angles.

  • We’re adding new events for you: Book Club, Film Club, and more.
  • We’re finding ways to reach more people:
    • Piloting a program that will lower the bar for libraries around the country to host CPL-style community conversations.
    • Launching a mobile app YOU can use to continue our conversations after our events.
    • Simplifying event registration.
    • Publishing a monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
    • Expanding our presence on Social Media and beyond.
    • Training more moderators to meet the expanded need.
    • Restarting in-person meetings at the local level.
    • Forming new chapters in areas that need them.

Or Go Home because we’ve discovered that an all-volunteer organization is not sustainable, especially at the scale we are operating at now. 

As a co-founder and the Executive Director, I promise to continue donating my time to ensure that 2024 will be the best year ever, however I will also be working with the new Funding Committee to find ways to hire qualified people to fill essential roles.

  • We will be more transparent about the true cost of doing our work, so you can decide whether you value it enough to donate your time, money, or support.
  • We’ll develop fun fundraising campaigns you can invite your friends and family to participate in.
  • We’ll be seeking out and applying for grants.
  • We’re expanding our board to include more people with more connections in the philanthropic space as well as bridging space.

Kareem and I are the co-founders of Crossing Party Lines, but we’ve always considered the organization to belong to the members.  YOU help us choose the topic.  YOU tell us what workshops to design next. YOU give up your time to attend our meetings.  YOU volunteer to make things happen.

In the end, it will be up to YOU to help us become sustainable and can continue after we elect our new president.

Yours with love and much respect,

 

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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.