Civic Friendship And Moving Forward Together

Inside every Living Room Conversation is an invitation to better know our own mind and take steps towards inner peace leading to outer peace.

When we offer each other the gift of our genuine curiosity, it benefits the receiver as much as the giver.  Listening to understand, asking open-ended questions, and creating space to explore our hopes and fears–ingredients in every Living Room Conversation–is how we help each other get clear on the what behind our why.

Grover Norquist told a story during the Moving Forward Together campaign’s Kick-Off conversation Monday evening. (If you missed it, you can still watch, HERE).  He worked across the aisle with his political opponent Ralph Nader on legislation to enforce congressional term limits. Both came at the issue—the why—from vastly different perspectives. But were able to garner broad-based support for more frequent turnover—the what—by listening to each other and finding areas of common ground they could build on.

Our convictions become distilled, clarified, and sometimes even strengthened when we articulate why they matter to those who don’t share them.  “I know very intelligent conservatives and I don’t agree with their conclusions, but they definitely deepened my understanding,” shared Marianne Williamson pointing to a tension at the heart of being human, and at the heart of our democracy.

Justine Lee shared how she’s been changed by her efforts to better understand Trump voters. “I’ve learned not to speak in absolutes. I question my ideas and why I believe what I believe. I  read multiple news sources. But I feel more strongly about the things I care about.”

When we cultivate the ability to hold space for others to discover themselves, as Pedro Silva advised, our respectful disagreements can ignite a flame that burns away the dross. What’s left is a better understanding not only of the other, but of ourselves, our own convictions, and of our why.

Please join or host a Living Room Conversation between now and November 9, and be part of Moving Forward Together. Learn more HERE

During the Kick Off Conversation, which you can watch HERE, our guests modeled live before more than 400 observers just how hopeful it can be to find alignment between people who appear to be so different.

We hope you will take up the challenge issued by Amanda Kathryn Roman who said, “Americans value a sense of belonging. Look for ways to reach out to those in your community who are a little bit different. If you go in with a spirit of curiosity, you will be surprised at what you find. It’s up to all of us to do that.”

Please join the campaign by registering for a conversation HERE.

These next few days may be tense, but that doesn’t mean we have to be.

After all, as John Wood Jr. reminded us, we aren’t enemies, we are neighbors. By cultivating civic friendship based in trust and goodwill, we can better navigate the creative tensions between us.

That is precisely how we’re going to Move Forward Together.



Warmly yours,

Shannon Mannon

Newsletter Editor