We welcomed BrIan Post from Wisconsin and Bob Barrett from northern California to our planning team. They briefly shared their background and what brought them to the planning team. They have brought great insights to our planning already. Welcome and thank you, Brian and Bob.
Golden Rule 2020
Cheryl and Petti shared plans and timelines for upcoming National Inst. for Civil Discourse (NICD) projects:
Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics . This campaign, initiated by the faith-based community, kicked off on Sunday, November 3, 2019 – which was exactly one year to election day 2020. Tools for both the faith based and secular community of Americans are welcome to join.
We invite network members to widely share www.GoldenRule2020.org with your faith-based communities, collaborative partners and individuals.
Common Sense America
CommonSenseAmerican – Cheryl shared information about another NICD program – CommonSense American. It is bringing common sense to American politics by identifying issues, developing policy briefs, securing input from everyday Americans and advocating for the changes supported is the goal of this program. To join, go to the link above to find out more and to sign up. As of right now, there are participants from all 50 states, which include an equal representation of Republicans and Democrats and a large number of independents. Members will be randomly assigned a policy brief to read and weigh in on over the coming weeks.
We briefly discussed the findings of the new Georgetown University poll regarding our political divisions which 2/3 of the country believes are so bad that we’re at the edge of a civil war. We talked about the mixed messages from the results, which indicate that voters want political leaders to be focused on compromise and finding common ground to solve problems. At the same time, the same numbers want leaders “to stand up to the other side” and to stand up to “powerful special interests.”
Preparing for Challenging Candidate Forums
Brian and Martha shared information such as Guide to Writing Unbiased Questions and Facilitation of Civil Discourse in Candidate Forums from the LWV of California (attached) and FAQs for Candidate Forums from LWVUS which you are free to share with your voter service teams as you prepare for a busy election season. Not mentioned during the call was the importance of reviewing and adopting your “Candidate Forum Guidelines” documents. You might wish to review strict elements of your guidelines to give you some flexibility at the event, such as indicating that you will be seating candidates in alphabetical order, for instance, if that would place two openly sparring candidates or one bullying/intimidating another side by side. The documents will provide detailed information that you can immediately put to use. The rationale (and federal requirements) is for our process and guidelines; the way in which we ask our questions (are they really asunbiased as we intend?); and suggestions for dealing with disruptive situations. And, in the end, we need to recognize that we are all doing the best we can.
Conducting a Community Dialogue
Bob introduced Marieann Shovlin, civil discourse chair for the Cupertino CA LWV, who shared the work that her team is doing in the Santa Clara region. They are now planning regionally. She shared information about the topics, the collaborative partners, and the numbers in attendance (approx. 50 at their last workshop on Sept. 21st, for instance.) They have used National Issues Forums ‘issue guides’ for discussion facilitation with great success. For instance, they used, A House Divided: What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want? for their recent workshop. The issue guides may also be paired with local data/specifics that local groups prepare as an insert to drill down on the local need, as you look at the broad spectrum of the issue.
A number of resources were mentioned in the call and links have been provided throughout the recap. They are also listed here:
- Georgetown University Politics Civility Poll
- Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics
- Living Room Conversations Golden Rule 2020 project: Livingroom conversations guide on Golden Rule in Politics
- Common Sense American: https://www.commonsenseamerican.org
- National Issues Forums: National Issues Forums
- What Teaching Ethics in Appalachia Taught Me About Bridging America’s Partisan Divide (this is one of the 100 articles found in the link below – how to fix politics in America – a great compilation by Politico):
- Politico: 100 articles about How to fix politics in America