ACS16_facebookYesterday contained a full day of sessions — panels and solo speakers — at the free, online American Citizens Summit. Like the first night’s programming, the focus was on how to think of politics differently by ignoring the political expediency needed by the parties and thinking, instead, about how to operate outside of the party system while acknowledging its presence.

For an event that’s designed to bring people together, so far the American Citizens Summit has been remarkably sparse in its use of social media or any interactive component. It’s a summit that brings speakers together, but the rest of us are expected to just listen, apparently.

I want the equivalent of being able to wave a sign, chant U-S-A, and sing along to What the World Needs Now is Love. Actually, what I really want is the convention center’s hallway, the benches outside the building where I can eat a hot dog while conversing with a stranger, and the hotel bar. I want a way to connect with the conference’s other attendees.

Oh well. I’m getting something from the speakers, so I’ll call that good enough for this week.

Here’s a perspective on how the transpartisan approach can work, without anyone giving up their values that might make one party or another more appealing:

It’s never about having to relinquish your values. What you have to do is put people at a setting where their horizons are expanded. Maybe they learn more. Maybe they stick with what they’ve always believed but they have room for something extra. ~Robert Fersh, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution

Liz Joyner of The Village Square gave some helpful advice about how to inspire and invigorate people:

Dr. Jonathan Haidt of NYU, the author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, talks about how human beings are 90% chimp and 10% bee. The chimp is the part where we’re operating in our self-interest in an understandable way. But, if you can punch the button on the back of all of our humans heads that let’s us become bee, where we’re working together for a common vision and idea, it inspires us. It almost immediately brings the better angels of our nature to the conversation and helps it be more productive and more civil. But it also helps people want to show up for it. In almost any endeavor that you’re undertaking in the civic realm, if you ask yourself the question ‘how can we punch the hive switch?’ I think it will yield results. ~Liz Joyner

 


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