On June 11-13, Let's Talk America and the Democracy in America Project, two dialogue initiatives aimed at bridging the left-right divide, co-hosted two dozen thought leaders from across the political spectrum at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to explore the potential to bridge their political differences through dialogue. It worked better than anyone dared hope. Shared concerns and perspectives that never show their faces in debates bubbled up in the space of dialogue, leading the group to sign this declaration:
We respect our differences and recognize America needs every one of our viewpoints, ideas, and passions -- even those we don't agree with -- to keep our democracy vital and alive;
We recognize that meeting here and across our land for dialogues across differences builds trust, understanding, respect, and empowerment -- the conditions necessary for freedom and democracy to live in us and around us;
And, therefore, each still grounded in our own considered views (conscience and convictions), we commit ourselves and our communities of interest to foster dialogue across the many divides in America, in large and small groups, to build trust, insight, and inspired action toward the more perfect union we all desire.
The signers included Ginny Sloan, founder of the Constitution Project; Bob Barr, National Rifle Association board member and former Republican congressman; Barbara Marx Hubbard of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution; David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union; Tom Atlee, president of the Co-Intelligence Institute; Mark Satin, author of Radical Middle; and Bill Thomson, national field director of the Christian Coalition. To see the full list of signatories and the text of the declaration, and to add your name, log on to www.letstalkamerica.org
How to Get Involved
Democracy in America Convention -- In late September, with the Democratic and Republican conventions behind us, the Democracy in America Project is convening a 'We the People' convention in Springfield, Illinois, bringing several hundred people together to explore what it is that unites them as Americans. To register for the convention, September 26-29, visit www.democracycampaign.org
Let's Talk America -- LTA is continuing to organize cross-spectrum political dialogues in neighborhoods across the country. To find or host a conversation in your neighborhood, log on to www.letstalkamerica.org