Check out past newsletters from the links below.

 

February 7, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3x1o63i 

February 3, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3YrTLXz

January 31, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3XT4Ws8 

January 27, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3HgJF4C

January 24, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3wuGrpj 

January 20, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3ZNRUgU

January 17, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3ZEHEro

January 13, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3w2XQFa

January 10, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3vQwsu0

January 6, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3jVXmOD

January 3, 2023 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3vzrqSs

December 30,2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3Ic6mce

December 27, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3GmCsRk

December 23, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3Vg1plz

December 20, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3jhmAGG

December 16, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3HHIL2V

December 13, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3VW3S62

December 9, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3VLT1vm 

December 6, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3OYEA4p

December 2, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3FlPlL3 

November 29, 2022 Newsletter Second Revision https://conta.cc/3VjBp9Z

November 29, 2022 Newsletter Revised https://conta.cc/3VfBV8J

November 25, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3EWSdN9

November 22, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3hZOy9j

November 18, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3gdLo1j

November 15, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3O9NXxQ

November 11, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3Ez5pJ7

November 8, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3WNVQwH 

November 4, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3h1pYEq

November 1, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3WpEWVg

October 28, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3SLLJ8s

October 25, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3TzJ5UJ

October 21, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3ToArbg

October 18, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3eEDU6v

October 14, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3g9VFLx

October 11, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3T3Nyye 

October 7, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3eh0wKe

October 4, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3M3iOeu

September 30, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3ri4MvS

September 27, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3ykNAtN

September 23, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3C3Yi9X

September 20, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3dtT2De

September 16, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3LiMljY

September 13, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3RBFvbw

September 9, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3B8uIid

September 6, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3QknTQ3

September 2, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3RfaOZF

August 30, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3B0hkNW

August 26, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3APU0m3

August 23, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3AEAVmU

August 19, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3PzCbvJ

August 16, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3dBDQDS

August 12, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3pd402j

August 9, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3diW2C3

August 5, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3bw6sNZ

August 2, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3Q4acFc

July 29, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3cN445O

July 26, 2022 Newsletter https://conta.cc/3J6Fvgc

July 22, 2022 Newsletter - https://conta.cc/3OlYnsI

July 19, 2022 Newsletter - https://conta.cc/3AZvgZ6 

July 15th, 2022 Newsletter - https://conta.cc/3o8QPyW

July 12th, 2022 Newsletter - https://conta.cc/3IwyIvU

July 8th, 2022 Newsletter - https://conta.cc/3uBdSWB

July 4th, 2022 - Inaugural newsletter - https://conta.cc/3OEs7Sq

Subscribe to the Better Angels Community
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The Better Angels Rivalliance takes its name from Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet, which has been called a “team of rivals” who set aside their serious differences to collaborate for the good of the nation in its most perilous plight. This is especially appropriate because Lincoln himself called for guidance from “the better angels of our nature” in his first inaugural address. 

 

The notion that individual, organizational, political, and religious rivals can participate in a creative alliance is not new, though in this era of extreme political partisanship it may seem unrealistic. A key to understanding how a Rivalliance can work, however, has been obvious for generations. At the global political level, the United Nations was founded in the wake of World War Two as an arena for discussion, compromise, and collaboration among nations who had previously fought each other to the death. It’s no accident that the UN learned from the failure of the League of Nations after World War One. The UN Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, provided a blueprint for a global community of respect and collaboration.

 

At a more modest level but in an equally significant context, individual athletes in a wide variety of athletic events collaborate on teams to compete with other athletes on other teams, and the competition is mostly for fun, though prestige can be involved, and – in the case of professional sports – money may the on the line. In many team sports, members of both teams shake hands with members of the opposing team after each game, and sometimes before each game as well. The energy of play is especially powerful when we recognize that playing is what little kids do instinctively and joyfully, which means that they are learning valuable lessons by playing, competing, and collaborating, though they may never realize they are learning valuable lessons. 

  

Nowadays, interscholastic, intercollegiate, and professional sports play significant roles in the cultural and social development of citizens around the world. Amateur and professional sports both played decisive roles in the march toward racial and gender-based equity, as athletes like Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Serena and Venus Williams, a majority of players in the National Basketball Association, and all the players in the National Women’s Basketball Association attest. 

 

Even the most fanatical of sports fans know that sports and games are just sports and games. (The word “fan” itself is just short for the word “fanatic.”) Opponents on high-school teams may go on to be teammates in college, and opponents in college may go on to be teammates in a pro league or in an adult amateur league. As parents, they may watch their sons and daughters collaborate, compete, and play with each other on the court, on the field, or in the arena.

 

The Better Angels Rivalliance hopes to galvanize the energy and creativity of rivals pulling together for compatible goals and common causes, just as Abraham Lincoln’s “team of rivals” did to abolish slavery while saving the nation. Just as high schools and colleges form athletic conferences to support both competition and collaboration, and just as professional teams band together within the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball, and other athletic conferences, the Better Angels Rivaliance will support an array of nonprofit organizations, schools, libraries, and faith communities who normally compete with each other for human and financial resources. Together, we can help each other help each other while teaming up to break down barriers of racism, sexism, poverty, and political partisanship.

 

 



The passage of the Woman Suffrage amendment to the US Constitution and the founding of the League of Women Voters in 1920 kicked off a decade of dramatic and often contradictory events which eventually became known as the “Roaring Twenties.” Prohibition made the production, sale, and consumption of alcohol illegal – which paradoxically led to widespread turmoil as criminalizing alcohol led to the takeover of the alcohol industry by criminals. Meanwhile, new intersections of art, commerce, education, and technology like moving pictures, jazz music, automobiles, and airplanes made for dramatic upheavals in social norms and accepted behavior, especially in relation to issues of race and gender. In the last year of the Roaring Twenties, the stock market crashed and ushered in the Great Depression – the worst economic calamity in several generations.

 

 

The Roaring Twenties were not called the Roaring Twenties until the middle of the decade, when it became clear what a roaring upheaval was actually going on. Here at Our Better Angels, despite the calamities and struggles of the Covid 19 pandemic and extreme political partisanship, we hope to contribute to a soaring rise of the human spirit over the coming decade. Thus we are dubbing it “The Soaring Twenties.” People living in the Roaring Twenties eventually recognized what a roaring drama was unfolding; by contrast, the Soaring Twenties is a prediction, a forecast, and a metaphor based on our faith in the human spirit, in the promise of democratic governance, and in the capacity for future generations to learn from the experience and wisdom of our ancestors and ourselves.

As our 2020 Vision Project suggests, the property of clear vision – vision capable of seeing into the future – is the primary quality we associate with people we call “visionaries.” That is also a quality we logically associate with pioneers – in other words, with people who go out ahead of a group to find the way and then point the way to help others find the way.

 

Here in Ripon, Wisconsin, our heritage seems chock full of visionaries and pioneers. The pioneers who founded our community in the first place were social visionaries who created a communal village called Ceresco in 1844, similar to the Brook Farm experiment in Massachusetts, where Ralph Waldo Emerson and others pioneered collaborative strategies to solve the political problems of their day.

 

Shortly after Ceresco gave way to the City of Ripon, a few visionary citizens founded Ripon College in 1851 to attract settlers who valued higher education. In 1854, a group of Ripon citizens met in their community’s Little White Schoolhouse to declare the founding of a new political party dedicated to the abolition of slavery. They called themselves “Republicans,” and it only took the Republican Party two national elections to elect the first Republican President of the United States. In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln called for the guidance of “the better angels of our nature.”

 

Two years before Lincoln’s first inaugural address, Carrie Lane was born on Spaulding Street in Ripon. As an adult, Carrie Lane Chapman Catt led the National American Woman Suffrage Association to victory in 1920 with ratification of the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the US Constitution, just months after she also founded the League of Women Voters to support voter education. Thus the 2020 Vision metaphor gained extra relevance as the nation celebrated the centennial of Carrie Catt’s triumphs.

 

2020 also marked the fiftieth anniversary of the first Earth Day celebration and the publication of Robert Greenleaf’s epochal essay, "The Servant as Leader," which launched the global servant leadership movement. Both of these anniversaries also resonate here in Ripon. The founder of Earth Day, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, was awarded an honorary degree from Ripon College, which also created the world’s first undergraduate program in Leadership Studies. The College still hosts an endowed faculty position in servant leadership.

 

In 1995, Ripon College also became the headquarters of the Wisconsin Leadership Institute, which in turn created Our Better Angels as a subsidiary in 2015 to support an array of educational Good Causes devoted to servant leadership and enlightened citizenship.

Ripon, Wisconsin: OBA's Home Town

Photo by Craig Tebon

 Photo by Craig Tebon

 

Our Better Angels is a qualified subsidiary of the Wisconsin Leadership Institute, which has its headquarters on the campus of Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin. Thus we already enjoy supportive and productive relationships with several organizations and hundreds of individuals in our home town. The City of Ripon itself gained historic significance back in 1854 when the first gathering of anti-slavery citizens met in Ripon’s “Little White Schoolhouse” to declare the founding of a new political party with the name “Republican.”

Our Better Angels, in fact, takes its name from the first inaugural address of the first Republican US President, Abraham Lincoln, who ended that address by invoking the guidance of “the better angels of our nature.” Each item on the list below links to the local affiliate organizations of Our Better Angels. In some cases, local Ripon organizations are linked to national and global organizations.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Note: We are revamping and revising our structures and our strategies. This page will be updated as soon as we finish that process.

 

A: The best way to answer that question is to request that you pay attention to the materials on our website, in our You Tube clips, and in our educational materials. Meanwhile, please remember that what you see on the news is not normal – that’s why it’s called “news.” Also remember that people who peddle dramatic imagery of violence and barbarity in mass media are exploiting the natural human instinct, developed over millions of years, to pay close attention to threats, signs of danger, and violent outbursts of sound and fury. They are making lots of money exploiting us that way.

A: OBA will encourage member Angels to express their opinions on issues they care about, but we will avoid political partisanship as much as possible. In fact, we see political partisanship, and ideology in general, as major obstacles to clear thinking and wise decision-making. The tendency to make snap judgments and to accept uncritically the beliefs of people in our own tribes is in fact part of our ancient, pre-civilized heritage. We will encourage member Angels to think slowly, think twice, and then think again. This does not mean that we will always avoid commenting on political issues, since political issues are ultimately based on moral and humane values. Why not join in and find out how it works for yourself?