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AmericaSpeaks launches the American Square

NCDD organizational member AmericaSpeaks just launched a new online social network called The American Square.  It’s an online community rooted in the belief that our country needs to engage in vigorous, honest, and civil political debate to address the enormous challenges we face. You’re all invited to participate!  (Sign up at www.theamericansquare.org.)

During AmericaSpeaks’ Our Budget, Our Economy initiative last summer, thousands of participants told the evaluation research team that they deeply appreciated the opportunity to hear from and engage with people who thought differently from themselves.  Now, The American Square is launching as an online pilot space for people to continue these conversations on fiscal issues.

I just signed up myself, and I think it will be interesting to see how things unfold.  Will people remain civil?  Will the discussion have depth and involve real deliberation?  Will people stick around, or will participation be transient?  Will people stay to discuss a variety of issues, or will most people be attracted to a single issue and stick with that one?  How will the software’s link to Facebook enhance the site’s popularity?  How will AmericaSpeaks use the platform to tie into their face-to-face programs in the future?  And how might we (the D&D community) use this new online platform to increase people’s knowledge of and support for dialogue, deliberation, and civil discourse?  Many of you might find it worth signing up and participating just to explore these types of process-geek questions.Here is a bit more detail from the site:

The American Square is a new community site devoted to enabling respectful, multi-partisan conversation about policy and politics.

We are passionate moderates, progressives, conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and nonpartisans. We are proud Independents, Republicans, and Democrats. But first and foremost, we are Americans.

We reject hyper-partisanship and polarization. The enormous challenges we face can only be addressed through vigorous, honest, civil political debate.

We are building an online community that brings ordinary citizens together with leading thinkers to engage in civil, evidence-based policy discussion. Here, Americans of all political, economic, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds can express their ideas and opinions about government and politics, learn about issues, and find areas of common ground through respectful dialogue.

We will find real solutions to real problems rather than on sound bites, ego, and demonization of those who disagree with us. We will treat compromise not a sign of weakness, but as a prerequisite for progress in a democracy.


The American Square is a project of AmericaSpeaks, a nonprofit that works to engage citizens with government decision-making through democratic processes and deliberation.  Learn more at www.AmericaSpeaks.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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