The 2016 election was one of the most bitter and divisive in the nation’s history. The aftermath left the country polarized and ended friendships and marriages.
But two Southern California residents are working with a national non-profit organization called Better Angels, that seeks to bridge the political divide and get liberals and conservatives to work together.
John Wood, Jr., is a former vice chairman of the Los Angeles Republican Party who also ran for congress, and Ciaran O’Connor worked as a digital campaign officer for both the Clinton and Obama campaigns, but now they are both working together at Better Angels.
According to Wood, Better Angels is an organization that seeks to create social and goodwill between Democrats and Republicans. It was formed three weeks after the election, by David Blankenhorn, a liberal and former civil rights activist. He wanted to get the two political parties together for the sake of the nation. At a retreat in Lebanon, Ohio, Blankenhorn gathered 10 Trump voters and 10 Clinton voters and had them sit down and discuss the issues in a civil manner. The next step was formalizing the process in a series of ongoing Red/Blue workshops which bring together liberals and conservatives to talk about how to successfully work together, break down stereotypes and find common ground.
Wood added that Better Angels wants to create goodwill between both parties so they can work together and heal personal relationships.
“We’re trying to create a citizen movement and a more constructive way of talking about politics,” said O’Connor
Currently Wood and O’Connor are working to develop Better Angels’ articles and columns for the media. These products will focus on being less extreme than most political opinions.
Unfortunately, many political opinions nowadays are extreme and controversial, but that’s what generates views and clicks. However, it only adds to the country’s divide.
This view was supported by Blankenhorn in a recent column.
“Once upon a time, liberals and conservatives used many of the same words and phrases to convey the same or similar meanings. Today, not so much. Like other aspects of our lives – where we live, who we befriend, and even what we eat and how we dress – how Americans speak increasingly reflects their political identities,” he said.
Better Angels held it’s second seminar on May 12 in South Los Angeles. This seminar featured African-American Trump supporters and African American Clinton supporters.