Persuade, Don’t Preach by Karen Tibbals Restoring Civility Across the Political Divide Menu

Support Organizations

Braver Angels: From their website: Braver Angels is a national citizens’ movement to reduce political polarization in the United States by bringing Liberals and Conservatives together to understand each other beyond stereotypes, forming red/blue community alliances, teaching practical skills for communicating across political differences, and making a strong public argument for depolarization.

The Center for Non-Violent Communication: Although not specifically focused on politics, the skills taught by this group can be useful preparation. I have attended a weekend training.  Here's a local organization in Ohio, who ran the training that I went to. Other NVC organizations can be found through this website: 

Essential Partners is an organization dedicated to helping people learn new skills to talk across differences. 

Ethical Frames: I am creating an online community to support those who want to do this work. Join the closed Facebook group here

Freedom of Mind Resource Center: America's Leading Cult Expert with blogs about how to help those who are in a cult

Heterodox Academy: Created out of Jonathan Haidt’s calling out of the colleges not being tolerant of Conservative culture. Meets once a year. Primarily composed of academics and a few students. Once a year conference held in New York City. It’s a terrific way to hear examples of people trying out new ways.

The Open Mind Platform: Based on Dr. Haidt’s research and other psychological research, this platform has been created to help a group become less politically polarized. I have not used it. It is available for nonprofits at no charge.

People's Action:  This is a group of grassroots organizing efforts in a variety of states which use deep canvassing techniques and is trying to heal the nation.  

The Priviledge Institute: A black-owned conference that runs once a year, changing locations every year. Creates a sense of community among people of all races, with a shared sense of letting each other try new behaviors and being okay with making mistakes. I attended once and learned a lot about myself and the blinders I had on. Can act as a counterpoint to the duality mindset and to the fear of being called out if you make a mistake.

I will continue to update this list as I find more. If you have a suggestion for other resources, please email me.

Other Resources

Alternatives to Violence is an organization that teaches skills in resolving conflict. They have active chapters in 33 states. 

The Authortarians website has a free copy of a book by Bob Altameyer describing people for whom respect for authority dominates their thinking. has a political bias questionnaire.

Deep Canvassing:  This technique has been proven to change people's minds. A description of the technique can be found here. See also the link to People's Action, who are implementing it. And here is a link to a video: Deep Canvassing for Political Campaigns and for a company that can help. 

Geeky Justin also tries to bridge the political divide with a focus on LGBTQ issues. He has also written a book called Talking Across the Divide.

The Hidden Tribes website reports on the size of different groups.

How to Heal our Divides: a movement trying to find a spiritual solution to our divide. Has published two books. Website is here.

Illusion of Explanatory Depth: This is a psychological phenomenum which explains part of what is behind our inability to talk to each other. This paper explains it in detail, but the wikipedia article is a good place to start. Once you know about this, you can develop questions designed to get the other person to think more deeply about what they actually do and don't know for certain. There is a new paper confirming this, demonstrating that if you get people to write down privately their beliefs and that they realize that they don't know much about what they are talking about, they are open to hearing what an expert says.

Johns Hopkins Civility Project:  Created by Professor D.M. Forni who has a passion for increasing civility in our society. Has a list of recommended books including his book, Choosing Civility, which has a list of the 25 Rules of Civility. I highly recommend the book.

Mending Fractured Relationships:  My newsletter which tells stories of how political polarization has affected our everyday relationships, with suggestions on how to mend them, based on the ideas from various experts.

Moral  the site by social psychologists briefly explaining the theory, with videos.

New York Times article about Professor Loretta Ross and a course at Smith where she calls for "calling in"

Ohio Democratic Leadership Institute has a website with other resources.

Public Religion Resource Institute: A non-profit, non-partisen organization dedicated to conducting independant research at the intersection of religion, culture and public policy.

Reframing TED Talk by Robb Willer: How to have better political conversations provides a summary of the research

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt is the best selling book that describes the moral foundations. (I prefer mine, but go ahead and get the seminal work.)

Spiral Dynamics is another concept that is an underpinning of my work. Here's the wikipedia defination. And two of the podcasts listed below have episodes on it.

The Way Out is a ground breaking book by a scholar in conflict resolution, Peter Coleman. is where you can take a test to see what your top moral foundations are.


The Ezra Klein Show: This podcast dives deep into the issues behind our politics. Ezra has written a book on the same cultural issues I am exploring, but he is more politically focused than I am.  I found the episode in November 2020 with Ian Haney Lopez particularly useful for understanding how Donald Trump won votes from Hispanic and African American men. 

The Journal podcast has an episode on how one church tried to bridge it's political divides.  And here is the article by Janet Ademy.

Learning How to See is a podcast by Richard Rohr, Brian McLaren and Jaqui Lewis discussing how understanding psychology can change your religious beliefs 

The Liturgist podcast provides support for those who are deconstructing and reconstructing their religious faith and how faith and politics interact

The RobCast podcast describes Spiral Dynamics in three episodes, starting at 295. 

To See Each Other is a short podcast series from the People's Action which illustrates what happens when they use the Deep Canvassing technique. 

The You Are Not So Smart podcast has a number of episodes about political bias and how to persuade people.  


Karen Tibbals @KarenTibbals

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