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Resisting Polarization in an Election Season: A Four-Part Curriculum

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The 2024 election cycle has begun. Each presidential campaign cycle seems to be more contentious than the last and this one is no different. We’re bracing for months of misleading TV ads, apocalyptic fundraising emails, and rough dinner table arguments.

Presidential elections make the nation’s already-extreme political polarization even worse. Polarization is when people sort themselves into two opposing sides and erase all the complexity of the issues at hand, treating one another less and less humanely. Almost any difference can become polarized.

Partisan polarization (Democrats versus Republicans) is especially harmful to the nation. 
It turns our huge, complicated, diverse democracy into a political sport where everyone has to pick a side and only one side can win.

Polarization might look like a shouting match between neighbors. It might look like people avoiding political conversations. Both are harmful. We have to be able to talk about our hopes, fears, values, and perspectives with dignity and honesty. This is not just damaging relationships. Polarization makes it impossible to co-create policies on issues that matter.

In this four-part, scaffolded, self-paced curriculum, we will help you develop the internal capacities, skills, and confidence you need to become a positive force in conversations around the election where you live, work, worship, and learn. We recommend completing all four exercises.

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