Bridging Divides in America
America’s divisions pose a threat to our national security and make it more difficult to address critical challenges facing the nation. An NBC News poll conducted in January 2022 found that 70 percent of Americans agree with the statement that “America has become so polarized that it can no longer solve the major issues facing the country – and that those differences will only continue to grow” – up from 45 percent in 2010. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship conducted listening sessions around the country and heard despair about the lack of trust Americans have in one another, and the sense that nothing unites us. They also heard a yearning for connection and common purpose and inspiring stories of local efforts to bridge differences. In response, the Commission’s report, Our Common Purpose, recommended dramatically expanding capacity for civic bridge building.
The American Academy invited all to join a discussion on the importance of addressing divisions in America. Members of Congress, leaders in national security, and experts in bridging divides discussed what is at stake and shared promising solutions that could help bring Americans together to solve problems and strengthen our nation.