“Defy the Divide: A Path to Civility” to speak on the political divide


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One of the panelists, Rep. Elissa Slotkin.

Autumn Page, Marketing Director

The Center for Civic Engagement will host their first panel in the series “A More Perfect Union” about the issues that cause the divide in America. 

“Defy the Divide: A Path to Civility” will cover how to find common ground in a time of highly charged partisan politics. 

It will focus not only on unifying as a nation and finding common ground, but how this can be accomplished in such a divisive time.

David Duilo, political science professor and director of the Center for Civic Engagement, believes that this is an important conversation to have.

“Our politics is in a bad place right now — it didn’t get this way overnight or even just during the Trump administration. We’ve been polarized for several years and it’s getting worse. It’s to the point where people can’t talk to each other any longer. People lose relationships with friends and even family members over politics — that doesn’t have to be the case,” Duilo said. “Plus, the nation faces some serious and difficult policy questions at the moment. Solutions to those problems will be better if we can confront them in a way that brings consensus rather than division.”

This panel discussion sets the tone for the rest of the series by the ability and resistance that the panelists carry. 

“These lawmakers are examples of leaders who are interested in working toward consensus and in a bipartisan manner,” Duilo said. “If they can do it in Congress, a terribly divided and polarized place today, we can carry that forward into other contexts as well.” 

“Defy the Divide: A Path to Civility” will feature three United States House of Representatives from the Problem Solver Caucus and two respected news commentators.

When thinking about who should be featured in this panel, Dulio said that a group of lawmakers who are interested in finding common ground to make good public policy was ideal. 

“Michigan is fortunate to have five members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Problem Solvers Caucus, an evenly divided group of lawmakers who work to create bipartisan solutions to important policy issues. We were able to find a date when three of them could join us for a conversation,” he said.

Representatives Elissa Slotkin, Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton are all at the forefront of efforts to work across today’s partisan divide to propose common sense solutions to important problems facing the nation. 

The moderators Stephen Henderson and Nolan Finley talk to community groups about the fact that they disagree on just about every issue politically but maintain a strong friendship.

They founded The Civility Project, a non-partisan initiative to restore civility in politics in southeast Michigan. 

Future events within this series will explore issues at the heart of building stronger communities and a stronger America. 

“These issues include race in America, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, free speech and the First Amendment, and pressing economic issues,” Duilo said.

“Defy the Divide: A Path to Civility” will be hosted via Zoom on April 6 at 10:30 a.m.

Registration is free. 

To learn more about The Center for Civic Engagement, visit their website.