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democracy, extremism, and outliers

Talking about . . . democracy, extremism, and outliershands.png

Under democratic governance structures, people enjoy freedom to believe as they choose, speak freely and advocate for their beliefs. Individuals like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton led the movement giving women the right to vote, and were seen as “extremist.” Another “extremist,” Frederick Douglas corresponded with and influenced the U.S. President on matters of racial equality. Still other “extremists” brought us witch trials, McCarthyism and the Holocaust. Given the societal impulse to label anyone outside of the mainstream “extreme,” how can we better distinguish and then support outliers who are advancing worthy causes?

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On a time crunch? Here is our condensed 3 round version.

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Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. 

. . . .

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continued

free speech, fighting words, and violence

Talking about . . . free speech, fighting words, and violenceFree_Speech_3.jpg

Some Americans feel violated by flag burning; some by racist rallies. As extremist groups use violence to gain media attention, most Americans oppose the use of violence. “Fighting words” against individuals in public are not protected free speech (see 1942 SCOTUS decision), but the definition of “fighting words” is unclear and has led to inconsistent court decisions (Wikipedia).  Should the government restrict the freedoms of speech and assembly of any groups or individuals, and if so, under what circumstances? Is too much tolerance dangerous, or is giving an authority the power to restrict freedom of speech and assembly even more dangerous?

Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.

On a time crunch? Here is our condensed 3 round version.

. . . .

Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. 

. . . .

Want to listen to an actual Living Room Conversation?

We have many podcasts and videos of actual Living Room Conversations, on many topics. Click here to listen or view.

continued

what are American values/ideals?

Talking about . . . what are American values/ideals?6370719_orig.jpg

The current polarized climate might suggest we have deep disagreements about American values/ideals, and live out of conflicting understandings.  But what exactly are American values/ideals?  What do you most value about the United States?  Do they derive from our founding documents, so you look to “the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?  Or the Constitution and Bill of Rights -- protecting the rights of individuals from government overreach, foreign threats and the passions of the people.  Or do they derive from something else entirely?  Let’s rediscover our shared American values/ideals.

Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.

On a time crunch? Here is our condensed 3 round version.

. . . .

Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. 

. . . .

Want to listen to an actual Living Room Conversation?

We have many podcasts and videos of actual Living Room Conversations, on many topics. Click here to listen or view.

continued

religious freedom and non discrimination

Talking about . . . religious freedom and non-discrimination

Our constitution guarantees our freedom to express our religion. But what happens when our religious beliefs impact others in society? How can we honor and respect others with different viewpoints? Most recently, the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was the law of the land. But what about traditionalists whose creed says that it is a sin?  This conversation is about the line between individual rights and community values…plus the role of government. 

Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.

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Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. 

. . . .

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continued

united or divided?

Talking about . . . united or divided? where do we go from here? 

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Political and philosophical differences are normal in a healthy and free society. No citizen should be expected to violate his or her own conscience or compromise sacred principles. But the common values we share, and our shared desire to solve common problems, should also enable us to make reasonable and principled compromises for our mutual well-being. In some instances, the Left and the Right fundamentally agree, yet the system somehow keeps us from working together. 

Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.

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Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. 

. . . .

Want to listen to an actual Living Room Conversation?

We have many podcasts and videos of actual Living Room Conversations, on many topics. Click HERE to listen or view.

continued

women and political leadership

Talking about . . . women and political leadership

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As of 2016, women comprise just 19 percent of the US Congress and hold only five governorships. Why do we have so few women in political office and do we care? Some individuals and organizations believe that having women’s voices in the mix is crucial to represent the needs of women and families. Some of these organizations seek out and encourage women to run for office, others want parity to happen naturally or raise cautions about erasing any gender distinctions in an attempt to "make everything the same." 

Are there ways that bi-partisan expansion of women in political leadership might complement traditional structures in society? Are women or men more productive and more likely to work collaboratively?

Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.

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Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Check out this from Pew Research Center or Ignite about women in politics.

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ranked choice voting

Talking about . . . ranked choice voting

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Most of us want the healthiest democracy we can design.  Are our current voting systems producing the best outcomes for citizens?

Some people believe that ranked choice voting produces an outcome more reflective of the majority of citizen’s wishes.  It has also been argued that ranked choice voting can reduce negative campaigning, allows voters more choices and saves money.   Are our democratic processes serving us well?

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continued

post election: what's next?

Talking about . . . what's next after the election?

The presidential election brought attention to our political system…and our differences. Now we need to restore relationships around our shared hopes and dreams and get our country focused on the work of governing. But how exactly will we do this?  This conversation allows us to start exploring ‘what’s next?’. Whether we feel elated or defeated, whatever our differences - let's insist on finding the deeper unities we can rest upon and defend. Generosity. Goodness. Kindness. Freedom. Respect.

Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.

. . . .

Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. 

. . . .

Want to listen to an actual Living Room Conversation?

Check out LRC Radio

continued

guns and responsibility

Talking about . . . guns and responsibility

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We all care about the victims of gun violence. We all love our children and our family. We all want children to arrive home safely at the end of the day. We have seen tragedy in our communities and want that to end. Let’s start with this as a given. This conversation focuses on our own personal experience with guns, gun safety and our beliefs about the balance between constitutional right and common good. This is a conversation about our hopes and concerns with a diverse set of community members in order to develop a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges surrounding responsible gun ownership.

Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.

. . . .

Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. 

. . . .

Want to listen to an actual Living Room Conversation?

Check out our listings on LRC Radio

continued

privacy and security

Talking about . . . privacy and security

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With recent revelations about the extent of data collection by the government and private companies, we have heard many concerns about both national security and the lack of privacy we have online. For every person raising alarm at information being collected by the government, it seems someone else is pointing out the value of this information in protecting our nation from terrorism. With all the back and forth, it's hard to know how to feel or what to think. In this conversation, we hope you'll explore where you feel comfortable and listen to the concerns of others. Where do we have common ground? And what, perhaps, are meaningful differences that remain?

Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.

. . . .

Background reading (optional)

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. 

. . . .

Want to listen to an actual Living Room Conversation?

We have many podcasts and videos of actual Living Room Conversations, on many topics. Click HERE to listen or view.

continued