Action Step: Join a Small Online Topical Discussion
Americans are not as divided as we think. But for various reasons we tend to focus on our differences, and that tendency is part of what drives wedges between us (Secret #3 in Is America Broken?). Quietly, there have been brave New Patriot Americans forming small groups to talk about what we agree on and what we disagree about. And these brave Americans are ready to share their process with all Americans.
It is easy to stretch your Democracy 2.0 Muscles! You just need to take the first step. Take a low risk test drive. Here are on-line, providers of small discussion group opportunities. Each has a different twist on topical discussions. Each teaches basic skills. Each is inviting and is a low risk method to get discussion started with other New Patriot Americans.
For COVID-19, with an aim to make lemonade out of lemons, many organizations are collaborating on www.Weaving2020.org
An invitation from Weaving2020:
Americans often rise to common challenges like COVID-19 with kindness, love, mutual support, and shared responsibility to endure together. We need community now more than ever. Although our nation’s social fabric is badly frayed by distance and division, together we can weave strong social fabric and emerge healthy and united.
Though we may avoid gathering in person, we can support each other in many ways online, via phone, and through acts of kindness for neighbors. As we connect, converse, and care
The Aspen Institute made a commitment to democracy by establishing the Weave Project in 2018, including a campaign for Better Arguments.
The Living Room Conversations (LRC) organization has over 80 topical, time-tested discussion guides for groups of 6 to confidently explore face-to-face in person or face-to-face online. The LRC website is set up to match you with other New Patriots across the country for a specified face-to-face private internet time slot and specified topic. The time commitment is about an hour.
The Listen First Coalition has over 225 member organizations. Each is focused on teaching listening/communications through experience. Each also participates in the National Conversation Project.
Better Angels named after an Abraham Lincoln phrase, was launched in 2016. They have conducted over 640 workshops and have many thousands of members, across all 50 states. Better Angels strives for red/blue balance in leadership, local alliance membership, and funding sources.
Connecting students across distance and divides to engage in respectful, face-to-face conversation
The University of Arizona has developed Hot Topics – Cool Heads method. This technique has been growing since 2003 with several unique features, including 5 volunteer participants on stage, with a seasoned facilitator to guide an impactful 40-minute discussion. The 5 participants take on roles of Agree Strongly, Agree Somewhat, Undecided, Disagree Somewhat, Disagree Strongly. The audience follows closely (somewhat walking in the participants’ shoes) and is given time to ask questions. (Not yet available as an online activity)