Us vs. Them—the mentality is not new. The battle between Liberals and Conservatives is an old one, but one that only seems to get worse as the years pass. I fall into one camp, for sure. But it's not difficult to see that all of the “you’re wrong and I’m right” thinking has historically gotten us absolutely nowhere.
In my eyes, the solution is education—not propaganda—and an open mind. It lies in the ability to see each other as human instead of Liberal or Conservative. And young voters are the key.
So with that in mind, I’m working on gathering collaborators for a project—an open "Real Talk" platform for young people across the political spectrum to use in order to link up and communicate with respectful, open minds... An incubator for ideas and innovative ways to get along better, to get each other more involved in our communities, and get voting at the local level. The result will be a body of stories about real people by real people that help to bridge partisanship gaps. And because it will also be a forum, participants become more than just passive listeners to these stories and actually engage in dialogue with each other and within their own communities.
Most of us make emotional decisions and then assign rational reasons to them, so if nothing else, understanding the real ‘why’ behind others’ ideals without judgment would be a huge step toward coming up with better civic and political solutions. And if enough people want the same sort of change, getting together, voting and participating in our communities more actively is the most effective way to start getting it done.
So rather than appeal to human confusion, ignorance, dishonesty, cowardice, despair... Let's instead appeal to human intelligence. Let's not rely on what we hear from the press, celebrities and politicians. Instead, let's talk to and listen to each other, and start making a difference little by little where we can.
I'm currently working on creating "Spark" cards to help spark conversations about voting and politics between young people across different communities. You will be able to order a set free of charge so you can start sparking conversations in your area.
In the meantime, I’m really excited to see the project take shape as more collaborators jump on board to help build the platform—designers, developers, writers, activists, etc. If you’re interested in helping me to flesh out and develop it, please get in touch!
Note: This project is about open, friendly communication.
What that means:
Open-minded people from all points on the spectrum are welcome. Negativity and harsh, judgmental attitudes are not. This will be a platform initially including a small portion of the general public and it will have no affiliations to political parties or organizations of any kind, nor will it promote spreading of any kind of propaganda. The intention is to promote community action and facilitate educated discussion and understanding between a diverse cross-section of voting-age young people with differing viewpoints.