Thoughts and Inspiration for Connecting Across Differences

We are Crossing Party Lines

What we do is get regular people together to talk about real issues with curious minds and open hearts.

How we do it is by teaching and modeling the skills that allow us to…

When you Can’t Imagine…

Most of us agree that it would be better if we could all talk to one another — across party lines and other differences. Yet many of us find our minds go blank when we try to talk to our political others. We can’t think of what to say that won’t lead to a blow up. We don’t know what to ask to break through the stereotypes.

Curious about Politics

There are two types of people in the world: Those who see things as Either/OR and those who see things as Both/And. When it comes to politics, Either/Or sets us up for argument and polarization. Both/And equips us to find solutions and connection.

I’m a CPL Member and I’m Curious. 

There are hundreds of bridging organizations out there, many national in scope, but CPL is unique in many ways. Most importantly, we don’t just listen to people on the other side. We get to know them and appreciate the insights they provide us. We get CURIOUS!

How CPL is Making a Dent in Polarization

The biggest complaint we hear from our members is that “all we do is talk.” They tell us they want to make a real difference, with the most common theme being wanting us to come up with solutions and pass them along to the people in positions to translate our ideas into reality. But in truth, we are doing much more. By addressing both how we feel about others and what we think about them, CPL is equipping you to move through the world as an instrument of change.

The Art of Blending

How a practice in aikido, a Japanese martial art with a philosophy of non-violence, led to Crossing Party Lines.

Bridging Differences for Your Mental Health

We have discovered that our work bringing Americans together for civil respectful conversations across differences provides many benefits in addition to reducing affective polarization. We have observed that the experiences we offer reduce fear and anxiety; That people leave our events feeling more hopeful and empowered and less isolated.

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.

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.

Ask and you shall find!

I started the Crossing Party Lines – Long Island chapter in Feb 2023. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

The Story Behind Why I Cross Party Lines

Warning: This is a long post. It’s an excerpt from my memoir “No One Was Listening.” I’m sharing it here as an example of what I consider to be the real power of CPL – the power to save precious relationships with family and friends.

CPL Moderator Training Syllabus

CPL Moderator Training is a science-based training that teaches you to design, moderate, and participate in respectful and productive discussions on controversial topics. Past graduates 

Why Choose Hope

“Delhi Burning” screamed the headlines of a major newspaper. It was November 2nd 1984, and riots plagued Delhi, after the then Indian Prime Minister Mrs.

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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.