An Experiential Experiment in Political Reconciliation
We know our current political system and dialogue is dysfunctional. Ideology trumps compromise and cooperation and dogma displaces discussion. Real problems go unaddressed (sometimes for years) so political scores can be evened.
A Parallel Democracy is an experiential experiment in political reconciliation. It is not affiliated with any group, organization, political party, movement, philosophy, ideology, belief system or religion. It will make no effort to attempt to change your current beliefs or to make you “wrong” about your political beliefs.
A Parallel Democracy will provide ‘an experience’ and ‘a space’ where you can practice being present with another with whom you have opposing political viewpoints and with whom you want to experience closer and more meaningful connection.
One of the best things about the United States is each generation is entrusted with making our grand experiment work. It starts with us, each one of us, and has since we declared independence. We can start anew, each day. It’s in our personal DNA and in our country’s DNA. This is an incredible opportunity to once again make a real difference for the next generations.
The experiment has been run successfully once, and will be run again on March 16, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona at St. Francis United Methodist Church from 9:00am until noon.
What some of the Attendees of the First APD Experience said about their experience in answering two feedback questions:
What did you find most useful about today’s experience?
- Sensing the ripple effect of one on one conversations; seeing other people interested in the process
- Reconciliation – seeing people as humans, not their politics
- The opportunity to stretch my comfort zone and engage with other people directly
- Reminder about listening, really listening for understanding
- How to bring circles of connection to the world; good language; simple exercise
- Being in a room with those engaged, disengaged and in-between
- Recognition about things I say
- Open ideas with no controls or judgments
- The appearance of citizens interested in a more authentic and responsive democracy
- The possibility that people are willing to cross party lines for the sake of the whole
- An informed, engaged group of people gave me courage to make me realize that each of us can make a difference
- An idea about a different way of doing things
- A glimmer of hope
- The ability to express what issues I have and to practice with facilitators an issue of reconciliation
- The experience reminded me that reconciliation is within my own power to accomplish
- That it occurred at all
Please complete the following sentence: As a result of today….
- I will open my life to those not like me politically
- I feel hopeful that there are others searching for the same ideals in our democracy
- I am inspired that we can individually and collectively make a difference
- More committed to abandoning the old attitudes, beliefs, and labels
- Less inclined to make classifications and labels
- I became more aware of relating to the humanity of the other
- I will try to be more tolerant of ignorant liberals (ha, ha)
- I will begin the reconciliation process with my brother and a friend
- I will be more curious open and less guarded
- I have an open space to allow others’ anger or disagreements to be looked at as people not as judgments and opinions
- I have found I can be neutral about politics and that I have take responsibility for my actions
- I will start imagining how technology can be liberated from media and money
- I feel more comfortable with political discourse
- I see my brother-in-law as a person
- I will connect with a political antagonist and go beyond that to a place of shared humanity
- I am encouraged to continue this process
- I will approach those with differing views with intent to listen and understand
- I am more open to others opinions
- I’ll feel more comfortable in situations of political discourse
- I have much to think about
- I will write a letter to a disconnected friend
- Awareness of insistence on being right more than reconciling
- I am more aware of my blocks and more willing to be open to differences
- I had a great conversation with my son about his vision, interpretation of our political system
- I will speak differently