Join our #12DaysOfReflection Campaign as we reflect on the year past
and be sure to check out our holiday resources for navigating family differences!

United or Divided?

Conversation Guide

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.

Background Information:

Political diversity is essential to some conversations. Especially with polarized topics, we encourage you to take extra care to include people who hold different political views. Engaging only with people who hold similar views can lead to further entrenchment of our own beliefs and more polarization. 
 
When inviting guests, consider all kinds of differences – age, culture, political leaning, gender – what voices are you most interested to hear from? What voices might best enrich your conversation?
 

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.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three 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...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on United or Divided??

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared 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)?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

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?
  • 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?

Please complete the feedback form to help us continue to improve Living Room Conversations.

Thank You!

Close Menu