We can’t solve our problems if we don’t work together.
It’s no longer feeling like we all mean the same thing when we talk about “Americans.” Partisan divides are growing stronger, and over 40% of the members of each party view the other as the enemy or “downright evil.” Those living in rural and urban areas are living increasingly divergent lives. And social media - meant to bring us together - instead is keeping each of us in our own bubble, presenting us only with views which line up with what we already believe.
It’s imperative that we stop this trend. We need to find ways to reinvigorate public spaces that allow for people from all walks of life to come together.
One important way to do so is to initiate the American Exchange Program - bringing high school seniors from around the country together to work on projects in different areas. This will expose them to individuals from different backgrounds and viewpoints, allowing them to make friends with whom they disagree. They’ll also gain exposure to areas of the country they wouldn’t otherwise visit, and we all know that there are plenty of projects that would be both educational and important to local communities.
By teaching our children to come together with people that are different from them to solve problems, we can raise a generation that’s focused on solutions instead of viewing other Americans as the enemy.
Problems to be Solved:
- Americans increasingly view those on the other side of the political aisle as enemies.
- Lives in different areas of the country are increasingly diverging, leading to no shared concept of what it means to be an American.
- Our online social media bubbles are reinforcing our worst beliefs about other Americans.
“Right now it’s far too easy for Americans to generalize about people in another state or region or walk of life. If we have each high school graduate spend time with a diverse set of graduates in different parts of the country, they would forever form a different, deeper and broader understanding of what it means to be an American. It would improve our culture and politics immeasurably over time. Plus, every 18-year old would love a road trip.”
- Implement the American Exchange Program, connecting high school students from different areas of the country to work on shared projects.
- Fund “Problem Solving Trips” for these groups, sending them to different areas of the country to work on solving problems for different communities.
- Promote civic engagement and empathy while also providing civic education during these programs.
If this sounds like the future you want to build for America, consider donating today!