Common Ground for Texans advocates positive solutions through civil engagement (stress intended).
In her TED talk, Megan Phelps-Roper describes how she grew up in —and escaped from—an environment of extreme polarization, and draws some sharp conclusions about how we can engage across ideological lines.
Through her experience she discovered four conversational norms that made real dialogue with people who disagreed with her possible:
- Don’t assume bad intent or ill motives by “the other.”
- Ask questions. Questions signal they are being heard.
- Stay calm. It takes practice and patience. Escalation creates road blocks.
- Make the argument. We often assume the value of our position is or should be obvious or self evident.