What we're about

The purpose of this group is to promote political viewpoint diversity, to provide an opportunity for people of different political views to come together and engage in civil discourse on political topics with others with whom they both agree and (importantly) disagree.

In today's politically polarized climate, it is incumbent on all of us, as members of this society, to engage constructively with others to find common ground or to gain a better understanding of why others hold the views that they do, even if we vehemently disagree with them.

We encourage RESPECTFUL debate on political topics. Our discussions (debates) are moderated, and we ask that each participant adhere to our discussion ethos (see below) in order to set the stage for civil discourse.

Our objective is to have balanced representation of various political leanings at our meetings. Whether you consider yourself a liberal, conservative, libertarian, or moderate, whether you lean left or lean right or think of yourself as in the middle (or not on the left-right spectrum at all), you are welcome as a participant at our meetings. We believe that people's political viewpoints are complex, nuanced.

We look forward to engaging with you.

DISCUSSION ETHOS

(Please read this before signing up, as we expect you to agree to this ethos as a condition of acceptance into the group.)

• Show respect for every participant, even if you disagree strongly with their views. This group values civil discourse, and our expectation is that participants maintain their composure in the face of a diversity of views.

• Assume good will among those participants whose views oppose your own. Assume that everyone in the group wants the best for society and have arrived at their views in good faith.

• When engaging in debate with other meeting participants, do not try to score points by engaging in tactics to simply win the debate.

• When challenging another participant’s opinion, do not mention the person by name and try to avoid looking at them directly. Instead, when speaking, address the entire group. If you do need a focal point when speaking, use me as your focal point.

• When you are speaking and the moderator raises his / her hand, that means you have 10 seconds to wrap up what you were going to say. After you’ve wrapped up, the moderator has the floor.

• You do not need to raise your hand before speaking, but if you are having a challenge getting into the discussion, please raise your hand so that the moderator can call on you.

• The moderator will call on you if you have raised your hand, but not necessarily in a first-come-first-serve order. The goal is to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, so calling on people who have raised their hand will be done with this in mind.

• The moderator retains the right to raise his / her hand to pause the discussion at any point. The group is encouraged to help “police” this action. If the moderator has raised his / her hand and the one speaking doesn’t notice, the people sitting closest to the one speaking should politely make the speaker aware that it’s time to wrap up what he / she is saying.

• The three main reasons why the moderator pauses the discussion include: (1) to allow those those have raised their hands an opportunity to speak, (2) to prevent the discussion from getting overly heated / combative, (3) to pose a question, mostly with the intention moving the discussion along and / or keep the discussion focused on the topic at hand.

Past events (25)

The politics of UFOs. [Online event]

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Immigration policies. [Online event]

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Zombie neoliberalism. Huh? [Online event]

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Restore the fairness doctrine? [Online event]

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