By Ryan Adell
Let’s cut to the chase: we’re polarized. Just look at the data. Or scroll through the Twitter comments. Or turn on the TV. Political ideology is becoming a culture—it often dictates who campaigns to us, the people we surround ourselves with, what we read and watch, and how we think. And the more civically engaged an excited citizen becomes, the more likely he is to succumb to the dangerous cycle of polarization that’s poisoned our communities and government.
Still, the hollow calls for bipartisanship persist, and then nothing gets done. It’s easy to point fingers, take advantage of the situation, or do nothing. But Next Generation Politics has decided to pass on playing the blame-game. And while talking to “the other side” is an admirable first step, it’s not enough. NGP’s FLIP initiative will galvanize Generation Z to attempt being the other side—to read publications, follow accounts, and argue for issues you thought you disagreed with. But to NGP, FLIP doesn’t just mean changing what you read or talk about—it means rejecting the pre-packaged set of beliefs a “liberal” or a “conservative” is expected to accept without a thought; it means you sharing your beliefs with your party, instead of your party pressing its beliefs on you; and, most importantly, it means looking at those who you disagree with as individuals who you can compromise with, instead of members of a team that you just have to tear down.
The Next Generation Politics FLIP initiative will operate under three pillars:
- To push members of Generation Z to try being the other side in a genuine attempt to understand it.
- To challenge the notion that it’s too soon for our generation to hold its representatives accountable.
- To transform the tendency for the answer to every political question to safely fall under a red or blue candidate, platform or ideology.
This initiative will run through the entire month of March; NGP will be hosting flipped roundtable discussions, developing new sections on our Blog, conducting several special interviews, recording podcasts, collaborating with new partners, and a lot more. If you want to get involved or have any ideas, suggestions, or comments, don’t hesitate to send us a message—we need YOU!