As most obviously demonstrated by our government shutdown this week, the deeply divisive political stalemates in our civic dialogue are an undeniable area of concern for our country. When we relegate the framing of political discourse and shaping of public opinion to talk show hosts, partisans, and lobbyists, we citizens lose our voice in the harsh and often unconstructive political dialogue shaping critical decisions today. To reclaim a citizen-centered democracy, to rebuild public trust and civil discourse, we’re going to have to do it ourselves at the community level.
The decisions facing Washington citizens these days are often confusing, yet they can profoundly affect the quality of our communities and our personal lives. That’s why it is imperative that we consider them carefully, with due deliberation and with the benefit of community wisdom in a forum that is nuanced, pluralistic and collaborative. We need to come together as citizens to explore our electoral choices — without accusations, rancor and acrimony — knowing that we’re all going to share the profit and loss generated by our collective decisions on Nov. 5.