MCL Event to Offer a Step Towards Bridging the Political Divide
The Manchester Community Library (MCL) will host a program based on requests from the community, called ‘Can We Talk? Bridging the Political Divide: A Community Conversation on How to Make This Happen,’ on Monday, July 24, at 7 p.m. The event is for community members who wish they could have a civil, polite conversation with those whose political views are different from their own, to better understand the divide we find ourselves facing.
Rabbi Michael Cohen and Judy Livingston will serve as co-facilitators. Rabbi Cohen will start things off by talking about the importance of civic discourse drawing on his work in conflict resolution. He teaches courses on the subject at Bennington College and BBA and with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, where Israelis, Palestinian and Jordanians are brought together to create new relationships. Rabbi Cohen will set the stage for a respectful conversation. Livingston will discuss models of talking across the political divide, giving some examples of how resolutions/laws came to fruition during her tenure in the Vermont House of Representatives.
The audience will then break into small groups where they will be given a few questions to generate understanding of where we are coming from, our interests and needs. What has influenced our personal political journeys and identities? What influences the positions we take on current public policy issues? How can we develop the skills to find the common ground we share? How important is engaging actively in civil discourse to finding common ground? What role should the art of compromise play in the political arena? The idea of this exercise is to humanize each other by sharing our personal political ideological stories.
MCL wants this program to be inclusive and well represented by people of all political parties to cover the political spectrum. The program is free and open to the public. The Library is located at 138 Cemetery Avenue in Manchester Center. For more information, call the Library at 802-362-2607.