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Political Polarization in the U.S.

Here are the 16 resources from Political Polarization in the U.S.. was designed to promote civic education and civic engagement. Civic education leads to responsible citizenship. Responsible citizens are the core foundation of our democratic system. Our guides are designed to encourage dialogue about what it means to be a citizen, and to energize more Americans to be engaged in shaping and interacting with their own government. We also hope to be able to inform and educate people on how to engage in the dialogue that leads to common ground and minimizes partisan debate that divides and demoralizes us.

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A program of the Ludwick Family Foundation, Arsalyn promotes constructive dialogue between groups with diverse viewpoints as well as the sharing of models and methods. Arsalyn has been convening a series of regional conferences geared toward helping young people--especially politically active youth--develop skills that will help them communicate effectively with those of opposing views or with more lukewarm potential allies without alienating them or poisoning the wells of deliberation and common action. The aim of these conferences: to explore of the art of political deliberation and to apply this art in 'bridging the partisan divide.'

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Building a More United America: Final Report of the Uniting America Series

The American Assembly, 2002.

This report provides a summary of the four-year series of national Assemblies in the Uniting America series, and is designed to catalyze a national dialogue on ways to help reverse some of the most divisive forces within American society. The Uniting America series was created to deal with some of the most divisive tensions in our society and move us toward a more united America. Since the horrors of September 11, 2001, our purpose has become even more significant, as many underlying tensions within our society have become obscured by a sense of national unity. As a companion to this report, we have written a manual that offers suggestions for organizing community dialogues.

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Conducting Your Community Dialogue Manual

The American Assembly - The National Dialogue, 2002.

The manual provides the essential tools you will need to conduct a Uniting America community dialogue: ways for defining 'your community,' for choosing a format and for creating discussion questions. In addition, the series report, Building a More United America, will give your dialogue a national context as well as provide a convenient reference for well-considered policy options. The American Assembly's unique process builds a constructive consensus for action, and collectively, the dialogues will deepen the engagement of individuals in their communities and strengthen the quality of public opinion nationwide.

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Conservatives and D&D Highly Recommended

National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, 2003.

Back in 2003, there was a great conversation on the main NCDD Discussion list sparked by the question "What should we do when our most visible collaborator is perceived as liberal, yet our goals are to involve people with all ideologies?" That conversation evolved to address the all-important question "Are conservatives less interested in citizen engagement than liberals?" Here is a summary of that meaty conversation...

Constructive Conversations for Challenging Times: A Guide for Home and Community Dialogue

Watertown, MA: Public Conversations Project, 2001.

A 38-page guide to convening and facilitating constructive conversations about the events of September 11 and all that has happened since. The guide draws on over a decade of experience conducting dialogues about divisive public issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and how to use natural resources. It contains instructions for a two-hour structured dialogue and suggestions for briefer or less formal conversations that have the spirit of dialogue. For step-by-step support in hosting your own dialogue in person or online, download a free copy of PCP's Guide for Home and Community Dialogue.

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Democracy Campaign and Democracy in America Conferences Highly Recommended

Republican politician turned "transpartisan" pioneer Joseph McCormick founded the Democracy in America Project (DIAP) in 2003 with community builder Pat Spino. In their quest to find or create "We the People"--a unified whole that includes, respects, and values all American points of view--Joseph and Pat decided to work toward a three-day national civic dialogue event called a We the People National Convention.

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Framing Questions and Starting Conversations Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Let's Talk America, 2004.

Let's Talk America (LTA), a project that encouraged conversations that bridge across political difference, provided a resource to help conversation hosts frame questions in a way that is not polarizing. LTA recommended starting with a question that invites a personal story from people, in order to create a context in which they feel invited to speak. They suggested the question "What about the invitation to this conversation moved and inspired you? What led you to come?" Here are some other ideas...

Internews Interactive (InterAct) Highly Recommended

The widespread use of digital communication devices has created a nation not only clamoring for 15 minutes of fame on national television, but capable of connecting to it. InterAct's mission is to help Americans gain a place among the pundits and politicians who create public policy, using the most powerful medium on earth, broadcast television. The Public Conversations Project partnered with InterAct on RedBlue - an Internet project that gives Americans, whether ?“red,?” ?“blue?” or ?“purple,?” a way to connect, explore differences, and find out what we have in common.

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Let's Talk America Hosting Manual Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

This manual teaches the Conversation Café method in detail. This is the simplest process we know and one that has a proven track record to be easily and reliably adopted by hosts who may have no previous experience - as well as by skilled facilitators. This manual provides a process that will honor LTA principles and enable you to take the conversation from small talk to big talk in a way that allows everyone to feel respected, safe and heard. With a little study and preparation, your conversation can create a positive and empowering experience for all.

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Let's Talk America Wallet Card

Let's Talk America, 2004.

This "mini-manual" that gives an introduction to Let's Talk America, as well as the Process and Agreements. It's a great model of a simple, tiny handout that explains a dialogue process in a friendly, accessible way.

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Mainstream Media Project

The Mainstream Media Project is a public education organization that acts as a catalyst for breakthrough conversations and collaborative problem solving by increasing the diversity of approaches, voices and perspectives heard in the media. Founded in 1995, the Mainstream Media Project is a nonprofit public education organization that places top policy analysts and social innovators on radio and television stations across the country and around the world. The project has booked and completed over 17,500 interviews.

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Reuniting America Highly Recommended

Reuniting America is a network of organizations, associations, and individuals engaged in transpartisan dialogue. It is guided by a national steering committee and board of advisors comprised of leaders from across the political spectrum. Our intention is to foster authentic dialogue among leaders and citizens from across the political spectrum; to highlight and build on the citizen engagement work already taking place in communities across America; and to support and strengthen the capacity of leaders and citizens to discuss divisive issues and to engage in collaborative action.

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Talking Across the Divide Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Colleen O'Connor, Denver Post Staff Writer. Denver Post, August 29, 2004.

This long article on political polarization in the U.S., which was published in the Denver Post two months before NCDD?’s 2004 conference was held in Denver, quotes several NCDDers. Here is an excerpt from the article: ?“Most people in both political parties want the same things: safety, security, beauty, liberty, strong families and healthy neighborhoods. The best way to achieve these goals, experts say, is meaningful conversation about tough issues across the partisan divide.?”

The LTA Café: A Design for Hosting Large Group Let's Talk America Dialogues

Let's Talk America (LTA), 2004.

This design, which combines elements of Conversation Café with World Café, provides a process for groups from a dozen to hundreds of people or more that will honor LTA principles and enable you to take the conversation from small talk to big talk in a way that allows everyone to feel respected, safe and heard. Unlike the simple Conversation Café process outlined in the Host Training Guide, this process does require the guidance of an experienced facilitator. So we offer this design based on the assumption that you have previous experience facilitating large groups. Ideally you will have facilitated or at least attended a World Café in the past.

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We The People Declaration: A Call for Dialogue Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

In June 2004, Let's Talk America and the Democracy In America Project, two dialogue initiatives aimed at healing the left-right divide, co-hosted two dozen thought leaders from across the political spectrum at the Seasons Conference Center at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to explore the potential to bridge their political differences through dialogue. It worked better than anyone dared hope. Shared concerns and perspectives bubbled up in the space of dialogue that never show their faces in debates. On Sunday, June 13, 2004, after two and a half days of powerful dialogue, the group decided to sign a declaration.

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? 2003-2007 National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation.
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