ON THE AGENDA | MARCH 1ST, 2017 | WILL FRIEDMAN, PH.D.

More Light on What Unites

Part of our monthly "Progress Report" newsletter. To receive the latest email updates from Public Agenda, click here.

In my last update, I shared a glimpse into our latest report, "The Fix We're In," that offers insight into the current, difficult public mood. Importantly, the report reveals a surprising amount of hidden common ground beneath our more obvious divisions.

Many Americans, across region, political party, age and race, believe they and their communities face diminishing opportunity to better their lots because of a political system in which they have no voice or influence. But despite their deep frustrations, once people got talking, they tended to agree on a number of ideas they think might improve things.

While the existence of under-the-radar common ground is encouraging, it will take better public conversation to make it explicit in society and transform it into an agenda for change that addresses the problems our nation must work through to build a better future.

How can we create the kind of public conversation among diverse Americans that brings to light the ideas that unite us without ignoring the real differences we need to navigate? That, to us, is an essential challenge of the period ahead.

While we don't claim to have all the answers, our research offers important clues. I encourage you to look at our full report to not only learn more about the complexities of how people think about inequality and opportunity in America, but for some insights into how we can find more agreement on solutions to alleviate poverty, create economic opportunity and strengthen democracy.


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