By Carolyn Lukensmeyer, President, AmericaSpeaks
On June 26th, thousands of Americans who represent every walk of life will sit together at tables in communities across the country simultaneously talking about the values and priorities important to us as Americans.
Why is this National Town Meeting unique? This is the first time when every geographic region can be represented in the conversation at the same time, influencing each others’ thinking and collectively making a set of recommendations to the president and Congress.
Participants of the National Town Meeting will look at the tough realities and propose solutions to the President’s Commission on Financial and Fiscal Responsibility, members of Congress, and to the Obama Administration.
And what do we hope for at the end of the day on June 26? That the public will have made a clear statement about the values that should drive these tough decisions, and will be able to present their priorities about what needs to be done to ensure the country can proceed on a stable financial basis.
I’d like also to give you some background on our work and what we’re noticing at AmericaSpeaks 21st Century Town Meetings:
In 15 years of doing this work across the country, AmericaSpeaks has been inspired by hundreds of thousands of Americans who come together out of a deep commitment that their children and grandchildren should have the same opportunities they had. This fiscal crisis threatens our ability to provide that same level of assurance that they will have these opportunities. It is essential that we come together as a country to make the tough choices that will ensure this American legacy.
In recent years, increasing partisanship across the country has led to a decline in civility in our nation’s public discourse. We know from experience that a lack of civility is not what the vast majority of Americans want. It does not reflect our history and our ability as a country to deal with tough issues. Our profound hope is that this process will create the opportunity for everyone to participate civilly and with an open mind.
Among the core values that will drive the national discussion are:
- Neutral Space: AmericaSpeaks will take every measure possible to ensure that the discussion is not biased and provides a neutral space for the American people to make judgments about this difficult set of issues.
- Diversity: We will strive to reflect the rich diversity of the American public in the national discussion.
- Informed Deliberation: We will strive to ensure that everyone has access to the information they need to make informed judgments about the policy challenges facing our nation.
- Facilitated Deliberation: We will present to the public a set of real choices facing our nation and provide the space for real deliberation to take place so that we can learn from each other and find common ground.
- Taking Action: We will present to our nation’s leaders a set of concrete priorities that have been articulated by the American public and provide resources to participants to advance those priorities.
Thank you for joining us in this important national discussion. We look forward to hearing your points of view, learning from each other, and taking action to ensure that our nation can continue to realize its great potential.blog comments powered by Disqus