American Polarization: Political and Personal. Mónica Guzmán
Toxic polarization is "the problem that eats all other problems... It's the sludge at the base of everything else," our guest Mónica Guzmán tells us. In this really useful repeat episode from 2022, we learn how to fight back against the confusion and heartbreak of living with rigid divides.
This show is a curtain raiser for a series we are doing this fall with funding from Solutions Journalism Network. We will be examining threats to our society from polarization and recent efforts to build a national movement to bridge divides.
Monica is a bridge builder and author of the highly-praised book "I Never Thought Of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times". She serves as a Senior Fellow for Public Practice at the national depolarization organization, Braver Angels.
This interview contains surprises. One of them, says Monica, is that "the anger and the rage that we see out there that defines our division doesn't actually exist that much on the one-to-one level,"
She argues that the best tool we can use to have successful conversations with those we disagree with is our own curiosity. We also learn about Monica's personal story as the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who strongly supported Donald Trump. We hear how Mónica discovered ways to overcome divisions that hurt our relationships and society.
In this episode, Monica discusses how we can put our natural sense of wonder to work, finding the answers needed to work with people,
rather than score points against them. Bridging the gap involves asking questions that help you get across the difficult divides that are causing so much pain in our families and communities.
We also learn about the work and practice of Braver Angels and its current campaign, "Rise For America."
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