In an age of deep divisions in American politics, coupled with the proliferation of social media platforms, we increasingly share our opinions within our own echo chambers.
This is one of columnist Elizabeth Bruenig’s concerns. She writes opinion pieces about the intersection of religion and politics from a progressive point of view for The Washington Post.
“I think a lot about polarization,” Bruenig said during a recent interview with WGBH News' Emily Judem at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University. “If you seem, even at the very top of a piece or even by reputation to be pitching in a particular direction, there’s a real concern that can limit the audience you can reach. And I think that’s really unfortunate because I want to speak to as many people as possible.”
Bruenig says she aims to reach a broader audience by positioning herself as a Christian writer. A Christian theology scholar, she brings this background to her observations and opinions on the issues of the day in her work, including gun control, welfare, immigration and sexual assault.
Bruenig says her policy is to engage with anyone who reaches out to her. She has spoken with members of the so-called alt-right, and said she has learned that “you can have a mixture of illegitimate and legitimate grievances. And you can also be wrong about the source of your grievances.”
“There really is a sort of historical inequality,” she continued. “And there’s a sense of sort of aimlessness and hopelessness, especially in the working class, that deserves to be remedied. It’s just that I don’t think they’re right about the remedy.”
» MORE: Listen to Bruenig's lunchtime talk with fellows of the Shorenstein Center, recorded by WGBH's Forum Network.