Showing posts with label @Skinny_Post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label @Skinny_Post. Show all posts

Monday, April 3, 2023

Grayer Angels.

Kim, Richard. (2012, June 22). The Nation. 
In a recent Press Democrat article, Phil Barber discusses Braver Angels, an organization run and co-founded by David Blankenhorn, who was a proponent of Proposition 8, which was designed to ban same-sex marriage. Notwithstanding that, the article seeks to present Braver Angels in a positive light, discussing a recent meeting held in Petaluma. But Barber fails to address Blankenhorn's past actions, which may contribute to the very polarization the organization seeks to remedy.

Some background on Blankenhorn's work illuminates the issue. As Richard Kim noted in his piece in the Nation, Blankenhorn's Institute for American Values "has attacked single mothers, championed federal marriage promotion as welfare policy, railed against cohabitation and no-fault divorce, and opposed access to new reproductive technologies. One of his institute’s latest crusades has been against anonymous sperm donors (because they lead to “fatherless” children, an abiding preoccupation of his)." This amounts to a comprehensive assault on some of the most powerless groups in our society, with little evidence to support the positions themselves.

The article takes a one-sided approach to highlighting Braver Angels' stated mission to bridge the political divide through dialogue, empathy, and understanding. With 92 chapters and events in all 50 states, the organization seems to target an older demographic, as evidenced by its appeal to the rapidly growing gray population in America. However, this approach has obvious limitations with younger generations, who face unique challenges and navigate their social and political lives through social media and identity-driven communities.

Young people today grapple with unprecedented economic hurdles and may feel alienated by Braver Angels' workshops, which cater to an older generation that enjoyed greater economic stability. Participating in these workshops could very well exacerbate young people's feelings of financial insecurity and anxiety. Furthermore, young people often engage with political discussions through the lens of their identity, which they defend and support in online communities. Braver Angels' approach, then, might feel more like (and might indeed be) an attempt to dismantle a protective shield rather than extend a hand of understanding. There are some members of the local community, such as Mary Munat, who are involved in the organization, who are trusted, and who I think mean well. But given the group's president's past and continuing actions, and the fact that nearly 10% of the money raised by the organization goes directly to Blankenhorn, it is tough to see how such concerns can be mitigated. 

Acknowledging the unique challenges faced by younger generations, such as economic insecurities and the importance of identity, is critical in seeking to create a more inclusive and resonant political discussion. Only then can we genuinely bridge the troublesome divide that so many have come to recognize is our central challenge to furthering public trust, without which all efforts in government come to naught.