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Update on Let's Talk America

Click below to read over today’s Let’s Talk America e-newsletter. The newsletter provides a great “Hip-pocket question of the week” (What’s the number one thing you consider when picking who you vote for?). It also urges you to sign the “We the People Declaration”, a breakthrough declaration calling for greater dialogue across political differences.

Let’s Talk America Connection
August 20, 2004

1. Hip-pocket question of the week: Deciding How We Vote
2. Past Questions of the Week: Send us your stories!
3. Intern/Volunteer Opportunities
4. Thanks to last week’s hosts
5. Upcoming LTA events
6. We the People Declaration: Sign the petition!
7. Support LTA

Dear Sandy,

America used to be a rich ‘melting pot’. Now it’s more like warring ‘special interest’ tribes that hurl insults at one another via the media. Politicians can’t — and won’t — change this. Polarization mobilizes people to ‘fight’. Only We — the people — can open up trade in ideas across these walls of anger and frustration. Each week LTA offers you a ‘hip pocket’ question to carry with you and ask someone. The website offers tools for organizing local conversations. You can get the ball rolling. Ask someone a good question. Listen. And then tell us what happened at talk@letstalkamerica.org.

If you have held an LTA conversation anytime this year, in a group or one-on-one, and haven’t told us about it yet, please take a minute to tell us your story at www.letstalkamerica.org/feedback.

–We’re all ears,
Vicki Robin, Leif Utne, Marian Moore, Susan Partnow
The Let’s Talk America Team

1. Hip-pocket question of the week: Deciding How We Vote
Voting for president is a right, a duty… and a mystery. Why do we vote for one candidate or the other? Do we know what informs other people’s voting choices? Are they voting their heart — that they like and trust the candidate? Are they voting with their head — after careful analysis picking the one best qualified to lead the country? Or are they voting on party lines, on “the lesser of two evils,” on the one issue they care about above all others, or…? Aren’t you curious about that?

Could you ask one other person — or three, or ten: “What’s the number one thing you consider when picking who you vote for?”

Will you be one of the brave souls in the land of the free who asks a friend or stranger this question this week? Go for it. And tell us about it at talk@letstalkamerica.org.

2. Past Questions of the Week: Send us your stories!
Please send us your stories about the conversations you’ve been having, so that we can share your learnings with the whole LTA community. Don’t be shy now. Here are the hip-pocket questions we’ve sent out to you in recent weeks:

– Do you think the Party Conventions contribute to our capacity to pick the best President?
– What would real homeland security look like here in our neighborhood? What can we do to make our neighborhood safer, more secure, and more livable?
– Are Americans as polarized as the media and politicians make us out to be?
– What have you felt or heard that makes you answer the way you do?
– In this day and age, what does it mean to live in the “free world”?

If you have had a conversation based on any of these questions in the past few weeks, please let us know at talk@letstalkamerica.org. For more good questions and conversation starters go to: http://www.letstalkamerica.org/questions.htm

3. Intern/Volunteer Opportunities
We’re seeking volunteers or interns from Political Science, Communication, Business, Social Work, and/or Sociology backgrounds.

Needs include:

– Research the emerging ‘Mending Edge’ initiatives.
– Develop strategies for community organizing across political differences.
– Conduct telephone interviews with project participants.
– Utilize research skills to design a methodology to process, analyze, weave and reflect back the feedback.
– Design the questions and curriculum we use for these conversations.
– Design and implement a MEDIA/PR campaign.
– Fundraising.

For more details, email us at talk@letstalkamerica.org.

4. Thanks to last week’s hosts
This week, LTA conversations took place in Austin, TX, Walla Walla, WA, Albuquerque, NM, and Reading, MA. If you hosted one of these gatherings, thank you. And please let us know how it went at http://www.letstalkamerica.org/feedback. If you share your stories with us, we can share your learnings with the rest of the LTA community.

5. Upcoming LTA events
In the next couple of weeks there are more LTA gatherings scheduled in El Paso, TX, Bradenton, FL, Seattle, WA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Alameda, CA. Sign up to join one at http://connect.letstalkamerica.org/meetings. Don’t see one near you? Host your own!

6. We the People Declaration: Sign the petition!
On June 13, two dozen thought leaders from across the political spectrum signed a breakthrough declaration calling for greater dialogue across political differences. A petition based on the text of this declaration is now online. Please add your name.

Read the full declaration and list of signers at http://www.letstalkamerica.org/declaration.htm
Add your name. Sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/LTA2004/petition.html

7. Support Let’s Talk America
We need your support to keep this vital work of healing our democracy going strong. Make a tax-deductible donation to LTA online at Groundspring.org. Go to www.letstalkamerica.org to donate now.

Sandy Heierbacher on FacebookSandy Heierbacher on LinkedinSandy Heierbacher on Twitter
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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