‘Better Angels’—pushing back on political polarization

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By Caryn Sullivan, Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Bill Doherty gets emotional when he recites a favorite quote from President Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory … will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

These aren’t just words for Doherty; they are the inspiration for Better Angels, a citizens’ movement with which he became involved shortly after the 2016 election.

A professor in the department of family social science at the University of Minnesota, Doherty is an expert on working with people who do not see eye-to-eye.

As a co-founder of a national movement to reduce political polarization, Doherty discovered the same skills he applies as a marriage counselor are useful to facilitate discussion among friends, family, and strangers on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

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The Sheridan Press // SHERIDAN — Launched in 2016, Better Angels is a bipartisan citizen’s movement to unify America. By creating opportunities for meaningful discussions, Better Angels works to dial down the heated rhetoric that gets in the way of real conversations and accurate understanding of our differences.

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