Four thousand miles by bicycle. One hundred chances for face-to-face understanding. Come with and help us tell the story.
Do you feel like political partisanship is dividing your country? Maybe even your own family? We want to tackle this problem head on by riding our bicycles from California to Washington D.C.—embarking on a quest for common ground.
We believe in free speech, meaning that everyone regardless of their ethnic, religious, or gender background has a right to be a part of the conversation. Mostly because shutting someone down doesn’t actually work, it pushes the other person to hidden communities where their views can become more extreme.
Relating to opinions we don’t agree with is at the heart of our quest. This isn’t betrayal to our respective teams. It’s simply the foundation of a healthy democracy. We’re going to listen in good faith without judgment or blame because we know it’s the only way forward.
Our team will be speaking with Americans of all races—black, white, latino, muslim—and Americans with a range of political views: republican to democrat, socialist to libertarian. In order to make folks feel heard, we want our team to represent America as it truly is—bipartisan and diverse—left, right, and center.
We’re naive enough to try and decrease tribalism at the highest levels of our government before the 2020 election. Are you? Sign our petition below.
Coming summer of 2020
74 5th Avenue
Square, CA 58478
Ian grew up in the suburbs of Minnesota, the land of sensible shoes, sensible hair, and elastic waistbands. Since graduating college in 2015, he cultivated viewpoint diversity that isn’t typically found in the Midwest. He made bold choices for a suburban Minnesota boy—most recently he spent a year and a half living from his bicycle in survival mode, cycling from Alaska to Argentina.
Survival mode meant that he didn’t always feel safe, have clean water or a roof overhead. He learned that not having the simple things most people take for granted can make life really hard. Without a secure shelter and a good night’s sleep, even something like basic critical thinking becomes a big lift.
Through his experiences living in survival mode—he honed communication skills that allow him to make connections with many different types of people. He made friends with Israeli proselytizers in Chile and catholic priests in Mexico. He shared stories with local politicians in Guatemala and pitched tents alongside Bulgarians in Patagonia. He adopted a human-centered, well-rounded perspective where he can listen to disparate opinions without getting offended.
Right now, our country is divided. It’s especially obvious online, but the division extends beyond our screens and onto the sidewalks, streets, and shared spaces where we make and unmake our communities every day. It’s encroaching into the entire social infrastructure, polarizing us at a time when we need to build common ground.
Ian has learned that the different sides of any argument can be served by listening to each other and trying to understand the other’s point of view. A willingness to identify with a different opinion doesn’t signal that you’re a sellout; rather, it’s the foundation for mutual respect and understanding.
American Renaissance Project as we see it is the ability to disagree productively with others, respecting their sincerity and decency. By understanding a different point of view, we do not mean agreement. We think folks are well served when ideas are allowed to be expressed openly, vetted, and critiqued.
Our focus here is to lead by example. We’re on a quest for common ground and we want you to join us. By signing the pledge below, you agree to disagree productively by following these guidelines:
Let the other person speak fully before asking questions.
Assume that the person you’re disagreeing with has good intentions.
Use "I" statements to keep the discussion based on your personal experience, rather than pointing fingers.
Emphasize cooperative goals and common ground when views diverge
Allow yourselves periods of silence if needed. Give yourself time to process what you've heard and talked about.
Sign the pledge:
We respect your privacy, your personal information will never be shared with anyone.