Donate to Address the Many Faces of Polarization

Help us help America overcome fear, powerlessness, anxiety, and despair.

Together, we have the power to unite America by addressing the root causes of toxic polarization. Your support makes it possible for us to bring people together across differences, helping them navigate the complex relationships between friends, media, politicians, and government.

Give now to ensure that civil, respectful conversations continue across America.

Crossing Party Lines is a  grassroots effort. Your investments allow us to host community events, bringing together people with different perspectives. We deeply appreciate your support as we cross America’s political divides, one conversation at a time.

Your donation will help fund  important projects such as:

  • Developing a CPL program for high schools.
  • Converting our workshops into self-paced online trainings that anyone can take, anytime.
  • Creating workshops to help parents and teachers navigate conflict in and around campuses
  • Leveraging public libraries to ensure that all Americans have a place where they can participate in CPL-style conversations.
  • Prototyping a mobile conversations app members can use anywhere, anytime to talk politics with fellow members.
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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.