Don't Just Talk. Speak Up

At Crossing Party Lines, members get a chance to dig into the issues, gaining insight into the nuance and complexity by hearing multiple perspectives.

As concerned citizens, we want our voices to be heard more broadly.  This page provides several ways you can do that, from getting more involved with CPL to writing letters and making calls to our representatives.

Speak Up in a CPL Podcast or Video Series

Support Bridging Work!

The Building Civic Bridges Act (BCBA) is a bi-partisan bill (Yes, there  is such a thing!) that, if passed, will provide funding for programs that help get people talking again.

You can help get this bill passed by sending an email expressing your support.  And to make that easy for you, we’re providing a tool that will guide you through the steps and send the message for you. It will take you less than 5 minutes. And remember: for maximum impact, tell YOUR story.  Write a sentence or two about WHY this matters to you personally.

One-pager here. ** Official Bill from the 117th Congress here. ** Official statement from Rep. Derek Kilmer’s office here.

Contact Your Representatives

Believe it or not, our elected officials do pay attention to letters and phone calls from their constituents.  If you would like to share your thoughts with your representatives and you haven’t contacted yours before or don’t know how, here are some resources that should help:

Get the Apps That Keep You Informed

  • Common Ground Scorecard – Learn which officials and candidates are actually seeking common ground.
  • Vote411 – Register to vote, see what’s on your ballot.
  • OpenSecretsGet the facts about the flow of money in U.S. politics and elections:campaign finance, political ads, dark money, lobbying, and more.
  • AllSidesView the news from multiple sides. 
  • PolitiFactSearch by state, topic, person, media, and level of truthfulness.
  • ActiVoteGet information on when the next elections in your district will be, who is running, and what party each candidate affiliates with. Includes links to candidates’ social media profiles and campaign websites and more.
  • CausesFind summaries of the most-viewed Congressional bills each week, including the bills’ status, an overview of how the bills would address issues, their main contents, and what supporters and opponents have to say about them.
  • Unusual WhalesTrack stock trading for every recorded trade by members of Congress through this app’s Politics section
  • –  Go to the source — the U.S. government’s open data initiative database.
  • Pocket CongressStay current with what’s happening on the House and Senate floors.
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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.