3rd Post From Princeton

We’ve been fed, exposed to art, exposed ourselves to art, been fed.  The discussion has been by turns emotional, thoughtful, circular, stalled, jumpstarted, simplistic, unrealistic.  For the most part, though, the discussion has been measured, polite, friendly, boundary-crossing.  It reaffirms that people – regardless of their political, religious, cultural, geographic backgrounds – share a lot of the same concerns…their kids, their family, their neighborhoods and schools.  The biggest point of distinction seems to be people’s personal experiences and – as one participant put it – what they choose to take away from those experiences.

Still haven’t figured out how to post pictures, but I’m taking quite a few.  Benidt, my fellow SRC participant, is playing the Merry Prankster, stirring things up whenever we get a little too close to sliding into too many platitudes and cliches.  All in all, I’ve had a great time with interesting, passionate people enjoying a beautiful Minnesota fall day.

And, did I mention, they fed me?

– Austin

4 thoughts on “3rd Post From Princeton

  1. Thank you, gentlemen, for the wonderful afternoon. It was a very encouraging conversation. Although our differences were front and center, it was very cool to see how we basically all want a lot of the same things, we just have a different idea on how to get there.

    Bruce, I appreciated your ability to mediate such a diverse group of people. You are truly gifted with your approach to conflict. (Have you thought about running for office? I more than likely wouldn’t vote for you, but your ability to mediate from the other side would prove to be beneficial to public policy.) I liked how you broke everything down to find commonality between the left and right, and how you had the ability to get each of us to try to understand why we think the way we do.

    Was my mind changed on anything? Not really. I still have the same conservative/libertarian values that I had going into it. However, it was interesting to see that most of us have the same fears and reservations. I particularily liked the conversation about each of us being afraid of “BIG”. Big government, big corporations, big religion…It was very interesting.

    Some thoughts that I came away with:

    1. My thinking on getting involved at the local and community levels was solidified. It’s easy to bash each other online, it’s different when you’re face-to-face, which obviously isn’t possible when you live states – or even cities – apart. We need to get involved in our local governments, school boards, etc., to truly make a difference and attempt to come together on issues, and have these face-to-face conversations. We may not agree, but at least we can get somewhat of an understanding of why we think the way we do. It’s much easier to be civilized and decent to each other when you’re sitting in the same room. (Unless you’re in the Senate, that is, but let’s not go there.) We need to concentrate less on “the big guys”, I think, and spend a little more time closer to home, attempting to relate at the local level, and educating ourselves on local issues. After all, the only difference we can truly make in a democracy is if we get involved at this level.

    2. I have been slowly discovering over the past year or so that liberals aren’t evil. 🙂 Although I may find many of your ideas on public policy destructive – mainly the ones that include the redistribution of wealth – I know that you truly want what’s best for America, you just have a different idea on how to get there than I do. I still think you’re wrong on most things, but I don’t see you as Dr. Evil scheming up a plan to destroy the USA. 😉

    3. You don’t hate America. In fact, those of you who were at the event were very passionate about your country and your freedom.

    4. You don’t like being lined up with the extreme left anymore than I like being lined up with the extreme right.

    5. The only real problem I had was when issues about Christianity came up. I’m a Christian, but I don’t base my thoughts on public policy on my faith. This made me uncomfortable, and that’s why I didn’t really respond when asked about it. Again, I don’t like being lined up with the religious right any more than you guys like being lined up with the “Al Gore” religious left.

    6. You welcomed my thirteen year-old son’s opinions, and helped spark more desire to seek the truth in what he believes. Thank you for taking such an interest in him. I hope the experience proves to be an influential tool in his own quest for solutions, as he grows into a young man and possibly a leader.

    Again, it was a great experience. I would hope that other regional bloggers would be willing to do the same thing, as it adds a new level of respect and understanding in a country that is so divided by the media and politicians.

    Thanks again, guys. It was a pleasure.


  2. Cindy says:

    Thanks to all who attended the Blogosphere Divide Conference in Princeton today. I really enjoyed meeting, talking, rakuing, and of course…the food! Nobody left hungry, or upset!Everyone was respected, and Bruce you guys did a great job trying to figure out how we righties think, and what makes us tick. If that’s good or bad, I am not sure… but I know I had a great time, cheese and crackers anyone???

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