Civil Discourse Resources

Discussions about how to form a more perfect union are not supposed to be easy.

America began from an argument. 

From the Founding to today, our American identity is rooted in debate, discourse, and discussion. The very process of never-ending argument is what bolsters democracy. But how do we engage with those with whom we vigorously disagree? Here are suggested resources for nurturing authentically American dialogues.
The National Conversation Project: Revitalizing America Together
There’s nothing wrong with passionate beliefs, disagreement, and protest, but it feels like something more dangerous is taking hold. Do you see it? Personally feel it? What’s changed? What can we do about it together? How we can bridge the divides that threaten our future?
Living Room Conversations:
Talking Politics
LRC offers a sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding. Typically, 4-7 people meet for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of LRC’s nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating, they take turns talking to share and learn.
National Issues Forums:
A House Divided
Every American is affected by the divisions and outrage that prevent us from making progress on urgent problems. NIF’s issue guide is designed to help people to deliberate together about how we should approach this increasingly urgent issue.
Essential Partners:
Guide for Conversations Across the Red-Blue Divide
This guide will help prepare you to speak about what is most important to you in ways that can be heard, and to hear others’ concerns and passions with new empathy and understanding—even and especially if you continue to disagree.
Stanford Business:
Reframe Your Argument to Reflect the Other Side’s Values
Compromise is key to getting anything done in politics. But in our highly polarized world, how do you persuade rivals to seek common ground?
Civic Nebraska:
On Civility: 3 questions to remember in a tough conversation
An authentic American conversation starts with you. In this article, we explore three guiding questions that may help you, and our nation, find a healthier dialogue with others in these times.
The Better Arguments Project
American civic life doesn’t need fewer arguments; it needs better arguments. The Better Arguments Project is a national civic initiative created to help bridge divides – not by papering over those divides but by helping Americans have better arguments. In partnership with communities and advisers around the country, the project has synthesized three dimensions and five principles of a Better Argument.
On Being:
Civil Conversations & Social Healing
The Civil Conversations and Social Healing team represents The On Being Project’s presence in the world as we nourish, embolden and accompany the work of social healing. Our organizational capacities to produce audio and digital resources are strengthened by programs and convenings that stitch relationships across rupture and equip for resilience and repair.
Go Deeper:
Selected booklist
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle (2016)
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt (2013)
 I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening) by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers (2019)

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