To the Editor:
As a conservative in Massachusetts and one of the few Republicans on Beacon Hill I know how hard it can be to get a fair hearing or even have a decent conversation about the issues of today.
I also worry about what kind of country we will leave to our children and grandchildren when we’re so divided, we can’t even talk to each other, much less work together to solve our common problems.
That’s why, a few years ago I decided to join an organization called Braver Angels.
Just as Abraham Lincoln called on Americans to summon their “better angels” to reunite after the bitter Civil War, Braver Angels calls on us to have the courage to begin healing our nation by listening to – and being heard by – people we don’t agree with.
Braver Angels is a national nonprofit that tries to bring Americans of good faith together through highly structured, mutually respectful conversations about difficult topics.
Neither side tries to change anyone’s mind – and neither side is allowed to engage in name calling or attacks. The objective is to engage with others with whom we disagree to find common ground and ways to work together.
In 2019 we hosted a Braver Angels workshop in Newbury where I led a group of people who “lean red” to have these conversations with an equal number of people who “lean blue.”
The event was structured with break out groups answering questions about themselves, how they view those on the other side, and how we think they view us. It was totally civil and respectful, informative and revealing.
I recently volunteered as the “Red” co-chair of the newly formed Braver Angels Greater Boston alliance, which is actively looking for more conservative members to balance our largely “Blue” membership. The only requirements are a $12 annual membership fee and the courage to trust that you will be heard respectfully – and to in turn respectfully listen to those with whom you disagree.
If this sounds like the direction, you’d like our country to move in, join us for our next monthly virtual event May 10th from 7-8:30 PM. You’ll hear a brief overview of Braver Angels, and have a chance to share with your Blue counterparts the life experiences that formed your political views.
Still on the fence? Drop me an email and I’m happy to tell you more about what it’s like to be a “Red” member of Braver Angels. Please feel free to email me at Lenny.Mirra@gmail.com. These are challenging times, but that is when patriots show up to do the tough work to make our country stronger. You have nothing to lose but your mistrust!
State Representative, Georgetown ◊