Civic Health Project is dedicated to reducing toxic partisan polarization and enabling healthier public discourse and decision-making across our citizenry, politics, and media.
Through grant making and advocacy, we support initiatives that empower Americans to reject tribal partisanship and come together to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.
We live in a society in which civil discourse and political decision-making capacity are deteriorating quickly and uncomfortably. We experience this erosion in obvious ways through hyper-partisan politics, toxic media and social media, and even day-to-day interactions with colleagues, friends, and family.
As humans, we are susceptible to becoming politically polarized, due to a combination of internal traits and external forces.
Internally, we are wired to seek and affirm tribal alignments. We can be quick to judge, lacking in empathy and tolerance, or blinded by biases that impede rational decision-making. Many of these traits emerged naturally – even helpfully – to support human evolution.
Externally, political and economic bad actors are happy to exploit our tribal tendencies, finding ways to profit from an increasingly angry, hostile, and divided electorate.
Today, as we become more and more divided, our innate evolutionary traits can wreak havoc, leaving visible scars across our modern civic landscape.
Getting a better handle on the root causes of these “us versus them” behaviors can help us build up our “immune systems” against them, through interventions that give rise to healthier interactions and decision outcomes.
So, are we polarized or not? Which of these statements is true?
CAN THEY BOTH BE TRUE?