Welcoming Conservatives

Reposted from this post on the Civil Politics Blog

We’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front of late as we’ve been working more with numerous partners across the country who are bringing people together.  Below is a partial list of organizations:

Living Room Conversations
Better Angels
The Village Square
Heterodox Academy
Ben Franklin Circles
Sisters of Salaam Shalom
One America
Peace First
The People’s Supper
Welcoming America

Across these groups, there is a common (though not universal) problem, where bridging the ideological divide is something that attracts liberals, moreso than conservatives.  While a general message of “why can’t we all get along” is bound to attract liberals, there are ways to moralize bridging the divide to conservatives (e.g. appealing to their patriotism or to an opportunity for better, more efficient government).  Liz Joyner, of the Village Square, wrote this article about it recently, that makes the following recommendations.

  • Start with a bipartisan relationship.
  • Build an expanding bipartisan network incrementally.
  • Keep a conservative bench.
  • Consider partnering with an ideologically diverse church congregation or a politically diverse group of churches.
  • If you’re liberal, don’t use your mother tongue.
  • Speak to hearts, not heads
  • Understand liberal and conservative “moral channels.”
  • Believe in your soul that without deeply engaged conservatives, your effort will lack critical insights required to solve problems 
  • Empathize with conservatives through a key insight that’s commonly absent in liberal circles.
  • Take a continuous meter reading on whether the environment you’ve created welcomes conservatives.
  • Scale up using a distributed leadership “cell” model.
  • Recognize the hazard of lopsided groups.
  • Respect that conservatives are going to be less thrilled with your forum or initiative for reasons that are truly legitimate

Challenges notwithstanding, the rewards you’ll get for your efforts to welcome conservatives are both essential to your success and will be transformational for you. They have been for us – the liberals among us will never go back to a room full of people just like us. It’s boring and lacks insights we’ve grown accustomed to hearing.

We’d encourage all our readers to check out the full article here.

- Ravi Iyer

 

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