The 2016 election has left many Americans battered and bruised.
We've been told over and over by the political class and the media that we are deeply divided. They say this because they profit from those divisions. And the more we believe it, the more it seems like truth, especially when we the voices of those on the ideological fringes are increasingly amplified.
But at My Purple USA, we believe something different. We believe that more of us live in the middle than at the edges. Although our country might be evenly divided, that doesn’t mean that we’re deeply divided. And we believe that our shared American values - values like respect, kindness, honesty, responsibility, prudence, stewardship, tolerance, liberty and cooperation - are points of agreement that we all have access to.
We also believe that the only way forward is to engage with each other in real conversations. Conversations in which we judge less and listen more. Conversations outside our social media bubbles. Conversations where we don't presume that we know everything about people who are different from us. Conversations where we have different opinions - and maybe even voted for different people - but still extend courtesy and respect to each other.
The alternative is to remain mired in difference, to watch the violent pendulum swings of our elections move from side to side every few years. Because here's the thing: no matter who wins, there's always going to be another election, always another round of winners and losers.
And so we invite you to begin your own conversation with someone you know who does not share your political views. That person could be your parent, your child, your neighbor, or your friend. Choose one value that you share and tell that person how they exemplify that value for you. Call them or Skype with them, write them an email, or create a video to share. And then invite them into dialogue with you.
We've created a conversation template that you can use as a jumping off point; we also have a form where you can share your story anonymously. We'll be publishing your stories on this site, sharing your small acts of kindness and resistance.
The goal is not to change minds or change votes. The goal is to change how we live together even when vote differently. We know that this is only one small action in the face of a large and overwhelming problem. But without small actions, without hope and resilience and genuine connection there is no chance that we will overcome the forces pushing us apart and find a way to come back together.
We hope you’ll join us, meeting in the middle.