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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. 

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Now that you are all together, here we go!

This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before you begin your conversation, please go over the Conversation Ground Rules with your participants.

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One. Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

Two. Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • what sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • what would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
  • what are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?

Three. Your thoughts and concerns.

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions and goals. 

Answer one or more of the following questions:
  • What core values do you think Americans fundamentally agree on?
  • What is the promise of the United States to its citizens? To the world?
  • Are we as Americans, living up to our promise to each other?
  • What issues might Left and Right work together on now because we are in fundamental agreement?
  • What issue do you most wish we could solve together (even if it seems impossible)? 

Four. Reflection

Answer one or more of the following questions:
  • in one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation;
  • what new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

Five. Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:
  • name one important thing that was accomplished here;
  • is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

Closing

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