Bring It to The Table
Democracy is founded on robust dialogue, but somewhere along the line, politics replaced sex as the one thing in America we don't discuss in mixed company. We all claim that we’re tired of partisan bickering, but what are we doing to fix it?
"Bring It to The Table" encourages Americans to stop blaming the ‘other side,’ examine their own assumptions, and take responsibility for strengthening our democracy. This project is an online platform, series of short videos, and community engagement campaign aimed at bridging political divides and breaking down partisanship. It is meant to spark a movement of citizens leading the charge for civil discourse.
HOW IT WORKS
The Table is a citizen’s antidote to political ranting. From barbershops to ball fields, the locations where the Table Talks are filmed are all familiar settings, and the participants are randomly selected. (We swear we don’t use coercion, bribery or lobbying.) Anyone game enough to sit at the Table is invited to discuss pressing national issues, such as taxation, the economy, same-sex marriage, civil rights, abortion, religion, and immigration. People are asked to explain the roots of their beliefs so we understand WHY they believe WHAT they believe.
Online participants are invited to watch and comment on what their fellow citizens have to say about the roots of their political beliefs, and spread the conversation across party lines and beyond personal differences.
In 2012, while discussing politics at the dinner table, filmmaker Julie Winokur’s 17-year-old son called her “the most intolerant person" he knows. He said that whenever someone’s politics didn’t agree with hers, she dismissed what they had to say. Winokur was shocked, but she realized that she had been called out on something that many Americans refuse to recognize: that we all contribute to divisive politics in America when we rely on assumptions rather than discourse. Rather than continuing to be part of the problem, she decided to become part of the solution.
Recognizing that it would be difficult to get people of different political persuasions around her own dinner table, Winokur decided to bring her table to them. On a personal sojourn to unravel divisive politics in America, Winokur and her crew traveled the country, inviting people to sit down and discuss the roots of their political beliefs. No ranting. No rhetoric. Just thoughtful conversations aimed at setting a civil tone.
Extreme voices in this country have had ample opportunity to be heard, but when do ordinary citizens get the podium? Like Julie, each of us plays a role in reclaiming the spirit of democracy. So pull a chair up to the Table and join us in making politics an acceptable topic for dinner conversation again!