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Better Angels:
Using Marriage Therapy Tools to Bridge the Political Divide

From a talk entitled:

“Distressed Couples and Divided Communities: How a Marriage Therapist is Reducing Political Polarization”

by Joe and Julie Mandarino at the “Creating a Culture of Peace” forum held in Fairfield, Iowa on

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Joe Mandarino speaking about

the Better Angels Polarization Hierarchy 

and the Three Languages of Politics     

January 2019

Better Angels Polarization Heirarchy

The Three Languages of Politics

News Reports about Better Angels workshops

Better Angels core principles for political discussion:

  1. Treat those with different opinions (“the other side”) with respect.
  2. Seek to understand the other side’s point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.
  3. Seek opportunities to acknowledge shared values with the other side.
  4. Seek opportunities to find political common ground with the other side.
  5. Engage the other side’s best arguments.
  6. Decline to engage in personal attacks or simplistic/false characterizations of the other side’s arguments.
  7. Do not presume those on the other side are acting in bad faith.
  8. When taking a stance on an issue, show your rationale and cite your evidence in a way that permits another to confirm what you are saying.
  9. Advocate for principles of depolarization as one of your main priorities.

Joe and Julie were the first trained Better Angels moderators in Iowa.  They are based in Fairfield Iowa and hold Red-Blue workshops in Southeast Iowa.  For more information,