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Civility is in decline in America. Fear and certitude are paralyzing our country. With Congress in gridlock, more Americans are leaning toward authoritarian political figures and the courts for answers to unaddressed legislative questions. Social media seems like an endless landscape of echo chambers and battle bunkers, contributing to dehumanization in our culture and polarization in our politics. Many over-engage, while many more don't engage at all. The rest wonder, "Will we survive these great challenges?"
Author Jim Brown believes there's a way up. After reading a simple bumper sticker "Don't believe everything you think," Brown details how his self-examination opened his eyes to new ways of thinking about "settled matters." He invites readers on a similar journey aboard a beautiful, spacious airplane, well above today's ground turbulence. Brown has one condition. Each reader must check his political baggage, turn off his smartphone, and gulp, choose a seatmate who is either a political foe, someone who frustrates him to no end, or his sworn enemy.
Each reader and seatmate realize their arrangement isn't unusual, as they ride with other passengers with very different views. A Muslim and a Jew, a Christian and an atheist, an environmentalist and an unemployed coal miner, a CEO with five houses and a dishwasher making minimum wage, and so on. Above the turbulence, all begin to recognize they have much more in common than not.
The journey starts with Brown's humbling awakening of how regular service of the homeless changed his life. He recounts inspiring stories of "service in love" that have saved and changed many lives. Passengers see clearly committing to regular service tempers desensitizing social media. They explore how to counter growing certitude and fear, process increasingly negative, one-sided media stories, and participate in the noble cause to protect free speech on and off college campuses. They see ways to work together to enact badly needed bipartisan political reforms to restore functionality in government. They come away with a specific plan to revitalize our national spirit and broken systems.
Sound promising? Check-in is only a click away. When you check out, you may not believe everything you think, either.