In 2017 Chris Evans heard a political argument on the news, wanting to know more about the subject he began to research it. Soon, Evans found himself deep in the internet weeds of polarized America. Not knowing where to get the facts on both sides of the issue, he wanted a place to access the facts directly from the people in charge. Thus, Chris Evans website, A Starting Point, was born.
“[A Starting Point]is a video-based civic engagement platform created by Chris Evans, and Mark Kassen” according to its website, “the goal is to create a bipartisan channel of communication and connectivity between Americans and their elected officials with the goal of creating a more informed electorate.”
While the idea first occured in 2017, it took three years to produce the platform, a large portion of that time was dedicated to persuading elected officials to contribute to the site. Evans and Kassen first emailed several elected political officials hoping for a response, but no one answered. Evans attempted again, including a video of him explaining the concept this time, but many politicians though the video was a bot and did not take the initiative seriously.
Kassen reached out to Joe Kiani, world renowned technological entrepreneur. Kiani has business experiences working with politicians and Evans and Kassen get their foot in the door. Officials still would not speak to Evans, scared to repeat past mistakes made in trusting Hollywood celebrities.
However, Evans was not discouraged. Every time they reached a representative’s door, they proved their trust to them and asked to spread the word.
Slowly the project began to pick up steam and now holds over 170 different officials focused on the goal of informing and connecting citizens.
In order to reach this goal, the website holds talking points from both liberals and conservatives; although Evans is an outspoken democrat, it was important for him to have a bi-partisan website. Somewhere that anyone can go to and get the facts from both sides of the isle.
The website contains three major elements: starting points, daily points and counter points.
Starting points are what Evans calls, “a political dictionary”. It covers main topics including economy, education, environment, government, health, immigration, international affairs, and rights. When you look into a topic the issue is then broken down into general, common inquiries.
For example, questions in the immigration topic include, “What is a fair path to citizenship for someone who came to the U.S. without documentation or is seeking asylum” and “What is DACA” along with many other confusions in order to provide a basic understanding. These queries are answered by at least three representatives from each party.
If there is an argument over a starting point, it is showcased in counter points. Counter points are essentially a political debate without the usual side tracking. Each official gets a minute to respond to the opposing party’s assertions. This back and forth between politically contrasting officials goes on for three rounds and is followed by a closing statement from each side. The counter points method outlines a civilized way to debate politics, focusing on the facts.
While Evans was speaking to officials, asking them to participate in his site, many were interested in topics that were bound to lay outside starting points and counter points. As a response, Evans invented daily points. Daily Points act as an open forum for all contributors, enabling them to speak on any issue theywish. The only restriction is that the videos must be under two minutes. There are no likes, dislikes or comments because the goal of the site is to be purely informative, not to sway you in either way.
In today’s world, politics are more polarized than ever. Many of these polarized issues effect individuals every day, people who are not informed on the pressing facts of these issues because there is no way to find information without an underlying bias. Evans new website solves this issue, providing a starting point to anyone who wants to be more informed.