Healing the Heart of Democracy Pledge

"I pledge to help our leaders and our communities to engage in respectful dialogue and to look for ways to solve problems cooperatively. Doing this, we can create better answers to all the challenges we face."


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Dear Friend,

Enough of the partisan dysfunction! I'm tired of the games of chicken and of the costs of political war. Relationship building and collaborative problem solving are needed for us to address the big challenges that we face today and in the future.

Will you join me in signing the pledge? And then tell two friends you've signed. We will provide everyone that signs this pledge with opportunities to contribute to creating a more civil political culture.

I'm a co-founder of MoveOn. In January of this year I co-hosted a Living Room Conversation about crony capitalism with a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. The conversation was fun and enlightening! We learned that all of us agreed that the war on drugs is a failure, that we all think there are too many people in prison, and that none of us think banks should be able to gamble with our money, enjoy the profits when they win, and be insured for their losses. There were so many things we agreed about! My Tea Party friend and his friends are smart caring people. That said, we don't agree on everything. For example, we can't talk about fracking because the facts my conservative friends believe about fracking are quite different than what I believe. In fact if I believed what they believe, I'd think fracking was great too.

Not having shared facts and a shared narrative is disastrous for democracy. Shall we reweave our communities and demonstrate to our leaders and media we can "Heal the Heart of Democracy" to quote the title of Parker J. Palmer's book on the subject?

Please join me in exploring how we might help create new dynamics in D.C., in the media, and in our communities that are respectful, and in so doing, realize our hopes and dreams.

Joan Blades
Co-founder MoveOn.org, MomsRising.org and LivingRoomConversations.org


1. Parker J. Palmer, "Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit" http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Heart-Democracy-Courage-Politics/dp/0470590807 How do we remain "open hearted" so that we can engage constructively with citizens that hold different views of the challenges we face?

2. http://www.lrsandbox.com/2013/01/moveon-founder-tea-party-figure-meet-sf-chronicle-article/

3. Living Room Conversations were developed with the goal of sparking civic culture change by fostering the respectful engagement of people with diverse viewpoints. They are an unfacilitated structured conversation form. Intended to enable people that would not typically talk to get to know each other while having a conversation about an issue where they hope to find common ground or even an issue that might otherwise feel dangerous to discuss. All the conversation requires is two friends with differing views to agree to co-host a conversation about an agreed upon subject. Each co-host then invites two friends to join the conversation- friends and friends of friends. Everyone must agree to abide by 6 simple ground rules that ensure respectful listening. The first conversation follows a conversation format that enables hosts and guests to get to know each other. Typically they discover that they share many key values and like each other. Once this connection is established they hear each other in a much more caring way.