There's a phrase that researchers keep calling our current political climate "toxic polarization," with one Columbia University social psychologist Peter Coleman, recently saying that by some measures, we're as politically polarized as we were just after the U.S. Civil War.
So it's not surprising that some groups are forming to try to find an antidote to that polarization, and get people talking to each other again.
A few weeks ago, we talked about the group, Civic Genius, that was going on a tour of cities across the country, gathering people together to solve some of our nation's biggest challenges, and connect beyond their differences. The first stop of their "It's Your America" tour was here in Cleveland in early April.
This hour, on the "Sound of Ideas," we'll highlight another group that started locally, called "Fighting to Understand" that has decided that the best way to find common ground between people who disagree politically, is over a good meal. The series is called, "Dinner and a Fight Dialogue."
The events have been going on across Northeast Ohio in recent months, and there are plans to take it on the road. There's one happening tonight at 6 p.m. at the Kirtland Community Community Center.
Here to talk more about the dialogue series is the Executive Director of "Fighting to Understand," Ted Wetzel. You might remember Ted as a participant in a project Ideastream took part in back in 2020 with StoryCorp.
That was called "One Small Step," and was another effort to get people who disagreed politically, to find common ground. Ted identifies as liberal-leaning. His conservative-leaning dialogue partner for that project, is our other guest for this conversation Tom Hach, who is the Executive Director of Free Ohio Now.
Around 9:30, we'll hear about the 30 Days of Apollo's Fire programming happening on WCLV, in honor of the baroque orchestra celebrating its 30th season in Cleveland.
-Ted Wetzel, Executive Director of Fighting to Understand
-Thomas Hach, Executive Director of Free Ohio Now
-Bill O'Connell, Program Director, WCLV
-Amanda Rabinowitz, Host, All Things Considered & Shuffle