SWANNANOA — As 2020 approaches, Warren Wilson College President Lynn Morton feels an urgent need to give students a sense of political discourse beyond just party lines.
“So what can we do to make the world a better place for everybody?” she wondered.
Since Morton started two years ago, she made campus-wide deliberative dialogue sessions a priority.
“Obviously, that was a time of increasing polarization in our country, and I think it’s very important for students to be able to have the tools that they need to be able to talk across differences,” Morton said.
Those differences have only amplified in recent years, so she’s asked a group called Better Angels to step in at Warren Wilson.
Better Angels describes itself as a “bi-partisan citizen’s movement to unify our divided nation.” It was formed in the wake of the 2016 presidential election by Trump and Clinton supporters.
“So, we’ve had a preliminary conversation about how they can come onto campus and do some training with us,” Morton said. “It’s become a national organization really of people who think there’s an alternative to the kind of polarization we have in this country right now and that we really need to stop demonizing other human beings and start thinking about their humanity and some of our shared values.”
Better Angels has taken that message to young people across North Carolina. For example, the group held a Red/Blue workshop with undergraduates at UNC Chapel Hill.
Morton holds out hope that with the right tools, the next generation can help repair the divide in America.
“What’s the world that you want to live in, I think is the question,” she said.