Understanding Our Mission and Vision

We invite you, our members, friends, followers, volunteers, and supporters, to weigh in with your thoughts on the CPL mission and vision statements. Crossing Party Lines grew out of community and will continue to evolve through community – Through your involvement and vision.

We May Not Be What People Think We Are

People come to Crossing Party Lines events for various reasons:

  • To share their views.
  • To learn about the issues.
  • To see if it’s possible to talk about the issues of the day with people whose views are diametrically opposed to their own.

How they leave our meetings is a different story.  They tell us they:

  • Want more.
  • Feel more hopeful.
  • Finally feel heard.
  • Recognize they are not alone.

People ask me, “Would you allow a Nazi or a member of the KKK to attend your meetings?”  My answer is a resounding “Yes!” And I follow up with.  “But I would let them know that the same rules apply to them as to everyone else and they must the treat everyone present with civility and respect.” 

Why yes? Because studies have shown that people are drawn to fringe groups not out of hatred, but out of loneliness.  The best, perhaps ONLY way to bring them back into the fold is to provide them with a community where they the are seen, heard, and respected. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said,

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

People think Crossing Party Lines is all about politics.  I’d like you to know that is wrong.

Crossing Party Lines is all about hope and love.

Political differences have become the largest, most insidious wedge between us today, tearing families, friendships, and even working relationships apart; filling the rift it creates with hatred, fear, and despair.

Our original mission and vision statements did not make this as clear as we intended, so we are reworking them with the hope that we will give our members, volunteers, and supporters and understanding of just how important our work is.

Original Mission Statement:

To create open dialogue between Americans with dissimilar ideologies in order to increase tolerance, build communities, and encourage civic engagement.

Original Vision Statement:

A country that harnesses the power of diversity of thought for public betterment.

We haven’t yet settled on our new mission and vision statements, but here’s what we’ve come up with so far:

Mission Statement:

To show individuals how to use the powers of curiosity and hope to build thriving communities.

 Vision Statement:

We envision a United States that has eliminated social isolation and thus eradicated polarization: a country of interdependent communities where every individual listens and respects other’s views and understands that it takes many differing perspectives to achieve the best outcome for all. Out of many, one.

We invite you, our members, friends, followers, volunteers, and supporters, to weigh in with your thoughts.  Crossing Party Lines grew out of community and will continue to evolve through community – Through your involvement and vision.

Share your thoughts.  Email me at Lisa@CrossingPartyLines.com.

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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.