About a month and a half ago, I was invited to apply to join a closed discussion on Facebook called “The Many by Spaceship Media.” The group is described as “A Conversation Across Divides! This is a place to listen, learn and talk about social and political issues with women who, like you, want to have civil conversations with women who have different opinions and positions.”

The application was simple. I had to write a little bit about my upbringing and my political views, and then I had to answer a few questions like “Do you believe that people with opposing political views can be intelligent?” Once I had been accepted to the group I learned of the guidelines for the group. Some of the rules include:

  • No memes or gifs

  • Don’t use all caps. It means you’re yelling and this is a place for talking.

  • When you share an article please introduce it with a description of what made you think of it and why you’re sharing it

  • Think about how the words you use will sound and feel to people with opposing viewpoints than you

After I had read through all the guidelines, I introduced myself to the group. I told them where I was from, where I go to school, what types of organizations I am involved with, why I’m conservative, and I posted a photo of myself. To my surprise, after only a few minutes my introduction post had been flooded with comments from both liberal and conservative women welcoming me to the group and telling me they were excited to have fruitful discussion with me.

The Many includes women from every state, of ever age, religion, political party, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity, so the conversations we have can truly be diverse as we strive to have a unique understanding of one another. For the past month and a half, I have regularly shared articles, replied to posts and read other people’s opinions on various posts. Because the group was created to initiate conversation leading up to the midterm elections, people would often post about the gubernatorial elections happening around the country and Judge Kavanaugh. People would also share articles about things happening in their towns and ask for people’s opinions. The moderators of the group would ask more lighthearted questions that weren’t political to help the women in the group get to know each other. Some of my favorite discussions that I had with the women were on posts like “what bridges are you happy you burned?”, “in this polarized political climate what do you feel unites us?” and “what fashion trend flashback is your favorite?” I became very close to many women in the past month. We all viewed the group as a way to connect with each other and have intelligent political discussions. Having simple guidelines, like not typing in all caps, helped us to remember that we all had the same goal. That goal was to learn more about the opposing political views and learn to be more respectful when dealing with people we disagree with.

After the Facebook group’s initial success, more groups were created for individual states so women could talk more specifically about the issues and elections affecting them. These groups have been largely successful as well. Most of the women are sad to see the groups coming to an end following the midterm election on November 6th.

I talked to some of the women who have been involved with The Many over the past several months and asked them what their favorite parts of being involved in the group were.

  • “The Many is a space of daily reminding us how different we can be, but how more alike we actually are. What starts with politics here often includes a vulnerable window into how we have formed our opinions and why we believe the way we do. These are conversations, not arguments-and that’s why it works.” -Lauren R.

  • “The Many has taught me that we are not bound by our political standings. In a world where media has become mudslinging full of memes and misleading headlines there are women out there that do think for themselves and search out the truth.” -Jolene A.

  • “We’ve agreed to be open, honest, and vulnerable without risk of attacks. It’s more about unity as American women and less about political division.” -Meg G.

  • “The Many is a place for sharing insights and listening to others. It works because those who join come with open hearts and open minds – truly seeking to understand differing views. The goal is not to change minds or be “right.” This is a safe place to ponder issues, disagree, agree, and still feel respected at the end of the day. Membership is held by truly lovely ladies who span the entire political spectrum.” -Jane G.

  • “The Many has helped me practice and observe the fine art of speaking across the political divide, something very important to me as many of my family members are across that divide.” -Cindy R.

  • “I love this group and our shared stories and conversations. In a political climate where you constantly hear about our polarization, The Many is a forum where we come together freely to share our stories and bridge that divide. We all show up and do the work and that says something positive!” -Sherri D.

  • “What I like is in this group you have the opportunity to explain why you feel the way you do. Explaining where you come from on a topic is a recipe for good conversation.” -Cindy B.

If you are interested in joining The Many in the last few weeks leading up to the midterm elections you can apply to join the group here

Georgia G
“Georgia Gallagher is a graduating senior at The University of Alabama, where she is double majoring in Journalism and Political Science. When she’s not studying, she can be found running political organizations on campus, writing, and advocating for pro-life policies. She often says that her planner is second only to her Bible and she’s never caught without a cup of coffee in her hand.”