Don't Get Furious, Get Curious
When you're so outraged that you don't even know
what to be curious about, join us.
We're here to get your curiosity back!
"I’m tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t work.  We are supposed to work it"
~ Alexander Woollcott
Don’t let politics get in the way of personal connections.
We need to talk if we ever hope to understand one another.
Crossing Party Lines is here to unite us and help America live and work together again.

This month we’re encouraging you to get curious about FACTS in politics.

Join us for one of our upcoming events....

CONVERSATION

July 14: Facts Matter

CONVERSATION

July 18: Gun Laws

CONVERSATION

July 28: Privacy in Tech

WORKSHOP

Crossing Party Lines makes it easy for you to talk and connect with Americans who see the world differently.  Our goal is to build communities where social connections and differing viewpoints flourish and are recognized as essential for healthy relationships. Every week, we discuss important and controversial topics. Participation is open to all, with or without membership. You decide which topics interest you, then sign up to attend.

Learn more….

Who Attends?

Americans from all walks of life representing the full political spectrum.

  • Some align fully within their designated party, while others identify based on values and topics.
  • Within party affiliation, many participants self-identify along the spectrum of conservative, moderate, liberal, or progressive.
  • Yet others self-identify along the spectrum dependent on the topic, for example, fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
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Why cross party lines?

Here’s what our members tell us:

  • “Coming to CPL meetings gives me a broader, more nuanced understanding of the issues.”
  • “I love having a chance to learn and practice skills that help me talk with my friends and family members, even the ones that don’t vote like me.”
  • “When I come, I am reminded that most Americans aren’t as crazy as the media makes them out to be.”
  • “I like being part of a community that doesn’t judge based on party views.”
  • “I  feel more hopeful.”
  • “I think it helps me be a better person.”

Discover

See for yourself what CPL members have talked about in the past.

Check out our podcast, “The Conversation,” to hear real Americans talking about the issues of the day. 

View video testimonials from Crossing Party Lines members across the nation.

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    A Sampling of Past Topics

    About Our Topics

    Crossing Party Lines members have discussed more than 300 topics over the past 5 1/2 years.  Many of the topics were selected by the members through our national poll.

    Before we discuss an issue, the Topic Development Team researches and explores it with the goal of designing a topic package for members and moderators.  The topic package includes:

    • A description of the focus we believe will give our members the greatest insight into the range of perspectives,
    • A collection of links designed to make sure all participants enter the conversation with a basic understanding of the topic,
    • A set of questions to explore.
    • Guidelines to help moderators anticipate the directions the conversation is likely to go.

    We store all topic packages in our Topic Database, along with a post-meeting assessment.  The Topic Database is just one of the resources we make  available to moderators in all our chapters.

    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.