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Let's Talk America Encourages Dialogue about Michael Moore's Film "Farenheit 911"

Inspired by an email that Lars Torres of AmericaSpeaks wrote to the main NCDD discussion list a couple of days ago, in which he suggested that Let’s Talk America take advantage of the popularity and punch of Michael Moore’s new movie Farenheit 911 to foster genuine dialogue on the state of our country and the partisan divide, the core Let’s Talk America team emailed their growing list of convenors, facilitators and dialogue participants this morning. This pleases me greatly; this is just the kind of thing NCDD was created to encourage. Click below to see a copy of the message I received.

—–Original Message—–
From: Leif Utne, Let’s Talk America [mailto:LTA@connect.letstalkamerica.org]
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 11:14 AM
To: sandy@thataway.org
Subject: Turn up the light tonight

Dear Sandy,

In response to Michael Moore’s film Farenheit 911, online activist group MoveOn.org is mobilizing tens of thousands to meet tonight and “turn up the heat” on President Bush. People will gather in living rooms across the country for a national telephone “town meeting” with the filmmaker followed by discussions about organizing for the November election. While politics is heating up on both sides, we at Lets Talk America believe we will only get the democracy we want if we also “turn up the light” – to consider why half of the country supports the President, as well as why half wants regime change.

Let’s Talk America wants to change the tone of politics in America from diatribe to dialogue and from polarization to possibility. We know that in a real democracy, every voice is needed and we all hold a piece of the truth. In the heat of the 2004 election, LTA conversations are teaching us to ask questions and seek answers that can “turn up the light” for all of us, wherever we are on the political spectrum. We know you can’t run a country where half the people think the other half are dead wrong.

So, if you’re one of those planning to attend a “turn up the heat” MoveOn house party tonight (info at www.moveonpac.org/f911), why not also “turn up the light” and raise one of these questions:

– What would a politics of understanding look like where everyone has a piece of the truth? Can you imagine listening with an open mind right now to a Bush supporter? What might you hear that made sense?
– How much effort should we put into understanding another side to any given issue? Is “propaganda” ever justified, and if so when, and why?
– Who do you want to see this movie and why? If they didn’t agree with it, what would you ask to help you understand why?
– If Bush is ousted and Kerry in, how would any of us change?

Are you game? We’re looking for a hundred or more courageous citizens who are planning to attend MoveOn house parties tonight and are not afraid to raise these kinds of tough questions, then report back to us about how it went. Go ahead. Pick one. Turn up the light Monday night and ask it. Then write us at talk@letstalkamerica.org and tell us what happened. What a great story that will be.

Sincerely,
Leif Utne, Marian Moore, Susan Partnow
The Let’s Talk America team
www.letstalkamerica.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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