Since I began my journey advocating for civil and informed dialogue, many people have made dismissive comments about the idea of dialogue and deliberation. I want to state again why dialogue is so important.
First of all, dialogue is always necessary for peacefully resolving any conflict.
Secondly, so much of what we do in politics is about communication, shaping narrative, helping people create meaning out of their experiences.
Think about the place of the First Amendment in our Constitution and our understanding of freedom. Think about how we use the money in politics. How do Super PACs and campaigns use the big money donated to them? Majority goes to “media buys.” Money is used to influence how we think, talk and vote.
If We the People remain alienated, fearful, and hateful, we will become vulnerable to manipulation and misinformation. We make room for plutocracy and other non-democratic forms of government to take hold.
Talking to our fellow citizens in a respectful manner and listening to each other, thinking together, informing each other, is the best antidote to the scourge of propaganda.
Lastly, we need to create opportunities where we can just be together and reinforce “We the People” as a civic identity. We can’t have a functioning democratic process if we hate each other and refuse to talk to each other.
We can reclaim a government of, by, for the people by changing how our behavior: how we get our information and how we vote.
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