American Crosscut is not the only experiment of this type.
Looking for new models, we found projects, groups and individuals with similar goals and drew upon their ideas and experiences. If you have other sources to recommend, please send them and we'll add them to this page.
The Public Conversations Project encourages dialogue instead of debate as a way to bridge differences. We've adopted their principles as our guidelines.
Search for Common Ground calls for a non-adversarial approach that focuses on a common problem rather than on each other as the problem, and speaks to everyone's highest place, not the lowest. They call it the "highest common denominator."
Reuniting America talks about "transpartisanship." Its website is a bit thin, but quotes Al Gore and Gover Norquist on the home page. If that doesn't make your head explode...
A movement called study circles encourages citizens to self-organize around an area of common interest. According to the Study Circles Resource Center: "In a study circle, everyone has an equal voice, and people try to understand each other's views."
Bloggingheads.tv links up bloggers and other pundits for video exchanges on current events.
Alternative points of view.
The Radical Middle espouses a perspective of "thoughtful idealism" rather than a ideological position, drawing from a variety of sources across the political spectrum. The site looks designed by an 1880’s pamphleteer, but it is a great source of ideas, books, articles and blogs.
Centerfield defines itself as centrist and has links to lots of other centrist blogs.
Some of the most provocative and useful thinking on this subject comes from the religious community.
- A talk by Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of "The Left Hand of God: Taking our Country Back from the Religious Right," is paraphrased here.
- Steven Waldman, co-founder of a spirituality-oriented Web site called Beliefnet, lays out ten reasons why liberals and conservatives can't get along — all rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of the other side.
- Jim Wallis, a Christian activist who has long been trying to change the national conversation about peace and justice, is author of several books aimed at getting us beyond "Religious Right" and "Secular Left."
And, of course, there's Across the Great Divide. In "A Nation With No Middle Ground," I laid out some of the ways I try to keep my mind open:
In general, I don’t worry about finding an absolute truth, because “truth” tends to shift as my perspective changes and I acquire more information. Plus, things change.
A view of the world that satisfies me one day may prove unsatisfactory later. I may feel myself in the right on an issue only to discover later that I have been merely righteous, and righteousness has closed my eyes to something important. There are no perfect sources — or unerring observers — and the best I can do is keep my eyes open and take responsibility for developing my own world view by:
• Understanding who is providing information and what influences or motives may affect how they provide it
• Learning more about ways “the facts” can be distorted, intentionally or unintentionally
• Gaining insight into how my own perceptions affect the interpretation of information
• Actively seeking alternative points of view — not just centrists or opposing views from experts and fanatics, but shades of opinion from those with different perspectives, such as artists, other cultures or people I don’t deal with regularly. And from conversation, not just reading.