After writing the 2018 book “After the Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump,” author and journalist Nathan Bomey set out to meet people who weren’t just accepting the status quo but actually doing something about it in an era marked by polarization.
“I said to myself … ‘I need to go out and talk to people who are bringing other people together despite their differences, whether it’s politics, race, religion, class, culture, whatever is dividing people. I wanted to meet people who just simply weren’t accepting the status quo and are trying to do something about it,” Bomey says.
In his new book, “Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age,” which comes out Friday, he explores the stories of Americans who are spanning the divides amid this time of intense disunity throughout the country.
“When we are immersed in a situation in which misinformation is being leveraged as a weapon, that’s going to lead to a war. That’s why we have to have this conversation about: how do we de-escalate?” – Nathan Bomey, author of “Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age”
Listen: Nathan Bomey on why we should have relationships with people who aren’t like us.
Nathan Bomey is an author and business reporter with USA Today. His new book, “Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age,” examines social and political divisions in the United States. The book includes a collection of stories showcasing various people’s attempts to reach across ideological, cultural or religious divides.
Bomey says civility is particularly important in diffusing tensions in a society overrun with misinformation. “When we are immersed in a situation in which misinformation is being leveraged as a weapon, that’s going to lead to a war,” he says. “That’s why we have to have this conversation about: How do we de-escalate?”
Bomey says the goal is not for everyone to get along. Instead, he emphasizes the importance of re-establishing social trust. “For a healthy democracy to work, we have to have conflict,” he explains. “Friction creates fire. The only question is whether we use that fire to create or destroy.”
This post was written by Molly Ryan