May 29, 2018 Camden, Political Divide

Neighbors Talking Across Political Divides

Tuesday, May 29, 2018     6:00pm – 8:30pm

Camden Public Library

55 Maine Street, Camden, Maine

Click here for a radio interview of Craig Freshley talking about the Make Shift Coffee House at Camden Public Library.

A Make Shift Coffee House is where people with differing political views can meet and learn from each other. There’s coffee and food and live music. Guided by a neutral moderator, all voices and views are heard and respected.

It’s not about persuading each other. We ask questions and hear what’s important to the “other side.” It’s okay if we don’t agree. All are welcome.

If you are a Republican, why?

If you are a Democrat, why?

If you are a Green or a Libertarian, or not in a political party at all, why?

Why do you see things the way you do?

Do you think people have less tolerance today for people with different views

Do you think we are becoming more politically polarized? Why?

According to the Pew Research Center, “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades. See the Political Polarization in the American Public and several other articles on political polarization here.

Do YOU find yourself with less and less tolerance for “the other side?” Why do YOU think that the country is so divided? How did we get this way? Will it get worse? What would it take for the divide to get smaller; for us to become more politically aligned?
The Extension Chords” from Camden Hills Regional High School will play jazz at the Camden Library MSCH May 29. They are (left to right) Owen Markowitz, Katherine Bowen, and Myles Kelley. (Photo courtesy of Camden Public Library)
The Extension Chords are playing!

Format

Free food and live music starts at 6:00; a chance to get a snack and chat with in pairs or small groups for 10-15 minutes.

The heart of the event is the next hour where the full group will engage in facilitated discussion. Following guidelines for a civil conversation, we learn from each other by asking questions and hearing what’s important to the “other side.” All that’s required is a desire to understand and the willingness to listen.

After the full group discussion we’ll strike up the music again, get another cup of coffee, and talk in small groups about specific topics. Some of us will talk in pairs. It’s informal. It’s a coffee house!

Before wrapping up, Craig will bring the group back together in one last group dialogue. This time could be used for a wrap up with a summary of key concepts as well as any more input from the group. Depending on the topic and the people involved, the time frame may vary. It might look like this.

6:00 pm      Live Music. Coffee, tea, snacks. Small informal conversations.

6:20 pm      Full Group Conversation

7:30 pm      Live music. Coffee, tea, snacks. Small informal conversations.

8:00 pm      Full Group Conversation

8:30 pm      End

Click here to learn about the Make Shift Coffee House culture and why understanding each other is so useful.

This Make Shift Coffee House will be moderated by Craig Freshley of Good Group Decisions. A professional meeting facilitator, Craig will manage a civil exchange of ideas as a neutral third party. It’s not about judging right or wrong or good or bad, it’s about understanding each others’ perspectives.

Interested in future Make Shift Coffee Houses?

Click here if interested in receiving notices, hosting, or volunteering.