Civil Discourse

Civil Discourse

In today’s polarized environment, political conversations often turn angry and counterproductive. Recent polls show that many Americans feel our country is more divided than ever, and increasingly view members of the opposite political party as not just wrong - but bad people. At the same time, Americans are increasingly divided into bubbles and echo chambers with limited exposure to “the other side,” consuming news that confirms their opinions and stereotypes. If this level of political polarization concerns you too, you're in the right place. 

Let's create opportunities for meaningful discussions and dial down the heated rhetoric that gets in the way of real conversations and an understanding of our differences. Our goal is not to push an agenda or change minds about underlying political issues, but instead to lower the temperature in our nation’s political climate and create the room necessary for the two sides to come together to meet the many challenges we face as a nation.

Keep reading for resources and how you can get involved.

Want to break out of your bubble? 

Wait... Am I In a Bubble?

Media Bias Chart from Ad Fontes Media

We recommend subscribing to The FlipSide for a daily look at one issue from multiple journalistic perspectives!

Check out these other great resources and learning opportunities:

  • The Better Arguments Project -  Helping Americans to have better arguments. Arguments don't have to drive us apart. Better arguments can help bring us together.
  • The Listen First Project - National movement to mend our frayed social fabric by building relationships and bridging divides one conversation at a time.
  • National Institute for Civil Discourse - The mission of NICD is to promote healthy and civil political debate
  • The Devil's Advocacy Initiative - Explores how to counter polarization by empowering Americans to critically assess our own worldviews, while still honoring our own truths and lived experiences.
  • Braver Angels (formerly Better Angels) - Braver Angels seeks to depolarize American politics. Our work is rooted in grassroots organizing. From the grassroots however, our volunteer leaders (supported by a small staff) leverage Braver Angels programs and unique organizing structure to impact community life and American institutions.
  • Serve America Together - A project of United through National Service

Want a podcast that helps you look at multiple sides of important issues of our time?

  • IntelligenceSquared - Weekly podcast in a debate style that brings you multiple sides of one issue

LWV Charleston Area Civil Discourse Workshops

Part 1 Why the Brain Follows: The Science of Us vs. Them (Thurs January 27, 2022 6:30 PM)

More details and RSVP

Part 2 Depolarizing Within Workshop (Thurs February 10, 2022, 6:30 PM)

Much of today’s polarization is driven by how we talk with like-minded people about those on the other side. Too often, we stereotype, dismiss, or ridicule our fellow citizens who support the other political party, its leaders, and its policies. This workshop will teach people of across the ideological spectrum strategies for how to depolarize within your own peer groups.

More details and rsvp here.

LWV Charleston Area Civil Discourse Ambassadors

Our Civil Discourse Committee's work has the following mission:            

  • Promote civil discourse in our communities and encourage people to discuss issues that matter with dignity and respect.                                                       
  • Educate league members and civic leaders about best practices.                      
  • Advocate for improved civil discourse and inclusive dialogue.                         
  • Partner with others to convene community conversations and forums.   

How Can I Get Involved?                                                                              

Join the Civil Discourse Committee and choose to work on the Curriculum sub-committee or the Action Team sub-committee or both! Contact committee chair ashley [at] (Ashley Davis) to join the team!                               

The Curriculum sub-committee will create handouts, help with best practices in facilitating a community conversation, maintain a resource page, develop informational/educational initiatives and other future programs, create a media plan to inform members and the community on events, plan for in-person or virtual,  etc.       

The Action Team sub-committee will learn to facilitate a community conversation, host workshops and events, and help promote national civil discourse events.