LWV: Can Democracy Be Achieved Politely?

STATE LEADER AT LOCAL FORUM

LWV: Can Democracy

Be Achieved Politely?

How can we debate the issues of our Democracy in a civil way, particularly in the current atmosphere?  Today, that was the question before “A User’s Guide For Local Democracy,” a morning of presentations and discussion in Springbrook’s Family Center, organized by the Cooperstown and Oneonta chapters of the League of Women Voters.  Tom Pullyblank, above, Catholic Charities director of Planning & Mediation Services, outlined discussion circles – literally, chairs in a circle – and how a moderator can assist a group in reaching a consensus.  CGP Professor Will Walker, seated at left, detailed how open-ended questioning has helped his students elicit valuable and detailed oral histories across cultures. He also introduced students Georgia LeMair and Kirbie Sondreal, seated to his left, who have used Walker’s methods to develop community conversations:  In Cooperstown, for instance, on Women’s Suffrage and the Centennial of the 19th Amendment.  Inset is the New York State’s executive director, Laura Ladd Biermann, who conducted a training session on keeping debates on topic.  “The moderator is in charge,” she said.  “If it gets out of line, you’re the one who has to bring them into line.” Cooperstown’s Maureen Murray and Oneonta’s Steve Londner organized the program. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)


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