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Meet the Americans Trying to Lower the Temperature in Politics

from The Wall Street Journal,

Groups bring red and blue partisans together, one conversation at a time; ‘We just need it to happen on the scale of millions.’

At the height of his anger at Democrats, Adam Wilkinson started a sloganeering T-shirt company called Failed Understanding—the initials were the point—and promoted it on his blog, where he often complained in crass language about the “socialist government,” former President Barack Obama and, later, the stay-at-home mandates intended to tame Covid-19. This year, the logistics supervisor from rural Minnesota found himself onstage in front of hundreds of people, changed in his debating style but not his political views. Next to him was Dr. Francis Collins, the former National Institutes of Health director and an architect of federal Covid policies that had divided the nation. Both men had come to believe that political animosity was a grave danger to the country—and that they, themselves, were part of the problem. The scientist and the blue-collar worker, who said he had “spent more time in bars in my adult life than in a classroom,” were trying to learn from each other about their political blind spots.

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