Opinion by Gary Abernathy// Washington Post
While everyone acknowledges our division and the social and cultural isolation at its core, doing something about it takes effort. Be of good cheer. There are those dedicated to doing just that, including organizations such as Business for America, Crossing Party Lines, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, FixUS, Listen First Project and Unify America, to name a few. They and others are joining forces for an innovative project the weekend of June 12-13 called America Talks, which should be interesting.
Kicking off a National Week of Conversation, the goal of America Talks is to engage at least 10,000 “conversation participants” through the magic of video conferencing in one-on-one, face-to-face dialogues based on political differences. “Each conversation will provide a repairing stitch to America’s frayed social fabric, as participants shift perspective from ‘us and them’ to ‘you and me,’ ” according to the program description. Signups are happening now.
Yes, it’s a lofty undertaking, and a ripe target for cynics and naysayers. It’s not designed for the denizens of most digital message boards, where snark and insolence flourish, abated by anonymity. It’s for people who yearn to expand their universe, better understand each other and perhaps even make new friends through productive and respectful conversation.
There are always groups affiliated with “bipartisan” outreach efforts that give pause to people considering participation. This group is too far left, or this one leans too far right. But allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good is how we remain stagnant.