Across the United States, Braver Angels alliances are hosting workshops and trainings in an effort to foster more civil dialog around politics.
The organization began to bridge the divide between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton voters after the 2016 election, said Waunakee Rotarian Susan Vergeront, who at one time began a Waunakee Braver Angels alliance. The organization began with the name “Better Angels,” but Susan said in today’s polarized world, where ideological  differences have led to violent demonstrations, including the Nov. 6 attack on the nation’s Capitol, starting conversations about politics takes courage. Besides, the name “Better Angels” was taken, Susan added.
The Braver Angels PowerPoint presentation quotes Abraham Lincoln, who said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”
The goal is to help people who strongly disagree find points of agreement. Polarization has personal costs, as family members find they can’t talk to each another, but it also stifles government from making progress.
The division between Republicans and Democrats has grown, Susan said, with the most extreme from each side often filled with animosity, contempt and distrust for those who align with the other party.
“It’s not just about the issues, but how we regard other Americans who differ from us. Both sides are dealing with that,” Susan said.
The middle is growing, however, and Susan, a former state legislator, said she is a Republican, but “not that kind of Republican.”
Braver Angels uses the term “patriotic empathy,” with the idea that our love for our country is more important than our allegiance with one party.
Programs through Braver Angels encourage people to find the courage to talk to others even when – and especially when – they don’t agree.
A training is set up at the Waunakee Public Library on Nov. 18 from 6-8:30 p.m. The Skills for Bridging the Divide teaches how to have respectful conversations while searching for common ground and affirming the importance of the relationship.
Guests: none
Visiting Rotarians: none
Other news:
-World Polio Day is Oct. 24.
-Work on the Rotary in Lights display will continue Saturday. On Nov. 8, after Girls on the Run, club members will begin to hang lights. The display opens Nov. 21.
Birthdays: Oct. 29, Lori Derauf
Anniversaries: Oct. 29, Corey and Danielle Randl; Oct. 30, Ryan and Julie Walsh
Greeters: Oct. 28, Danny Paul and Ken Pesik; Nov. 4, Nicholas Patrulis and James Pingel; Nov. 11, Erick Plumb and Angie Ramos.