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Thoughts from CSD’s Brandon Lee on yesterday’s call on red-blue dialogue

Brandon Lee of the Campaign for Stronger Democracy posted this great write-up on CSD’s blog this morning and gave me the okay to cross-post it.  Thanks for taking the time to provide these great reflections on yesterday’s NCDD confab call on red-blue dialogue, Brandon!

Confab bubble imageHad a great time listening in to NCDD’s confab call this month on liberal-conservative dialogue. Unfortunately I had to jump off a little early, but there was still plenty of great conversation to be had. Here are some takeaways and other thoughts from the call:

  • So much of cross-ideology participation has to do with how conversations and issues are framed. Folks from both sides have a tendency to incorporate their own viewpoints when advertising a discussion, or encouraging others to come in (IE: Everyone can participation in conversations about “social justice,” but some are turned off by the mere mention of the term “social justice.”). How can we be more open with how we discuss discussions?
  • Just like we must consider the language we use in trying to be inclusive of those with other views, we must also consider who is moderating as well. If a trusted emissary brings the group together, the conversation will likely be more robust than if the conveners are one-sided in their stances. Here is a timeline of major liberal-conservative collaborations, via NCDD.
  • People can spend at least some of their lives sheltered from others who share different viewpoints. When folks start to interact and have conversations with people who have seemingly opposing views, people find out that they actually like eachother. This is huge, and it prevents people from thinking that others are the essence of pure evil.
  • Living Room Conversations is one model that allows people to have these sort of cross-ideology talks.
  • The two speakers on the call, Jacob Hess and Phil Neisser collaborated on a book discussing their, at one time, unlikely friendship — You’re Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You’re Still Wrong)
  • Check out NCDD’s hackpad for the confab, which contains questions, thoughts, and links to other resources discussed on the call.
  • Keep an eye on NCDD’s news page for other media from today’s confab as well

We’ve been discussing civility in many contexts, not just “red-blue” dialogue between regular folks, but also with regard to race and the media (such as the use of the “I-word”), and how a lack of civility inhibits the work of Congress. This sort of cross-ideological conversation needs to happen in order for us to have a strong democracy, because as everyone remains in their own silos, no discussion actually happens.

A HUGE thank you goes out to NCDD to making this conversation happen! We’re looking forward to thinking and talking and acting on this further.


See the original post at http://strongerdemocracy.org/2013/05/15/thoughts-on-liberal-conservative-dialogue/ and learn more about the Campaign for Stronger Democracy at www.strongerdemocracy.org.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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