Pages tagged "Featured Blog"


How a Hijab-Wearing Muslim and a MAGA Hat-Wearing Conservative Formed a Friendship

Reposted from AllSides.com.

Amina Amdeen is a Muslim who wears a hijab. She’s been in situations where people have tried to remove her hijab from her head. So when she saw a group of protestors trying to light conservative Joseph Weidknecht on fire and snatch a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat from his head, she took swift action to defend him.

The event took place at a march protesting the election of Donald Trump in Austin, Texas, in 2016. The two somewhat unlikely friends tell their tale on StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization that records conversations between two participants, often with the theme of bridging political divides.

“I don’t think we could be any further apart as people, and yet it was just kinda like this common, 'That’s not okay,’ moment,” Weidknecht said.


A Place to Go and a Place to Stand: Can Democracy Save Itself?

(Note: This is an original article by Evelyn Messinger of Digital Citizen)

The Internet has undeniably expanded the voices of individuals and groups in our political discourse. And yet, the role of the citizen seems to be diminishing even as the power of the individual grows. Like many of you reading this post, I thought the Internet would foster a powerful and engaged citizens’ consensus that could moderate toxic political discourse. It has done the opposite, by helping to create today’s stark political divide. And although we are at a crossroads between danger and opportunity, I believe there is reason to expect that the Internet will still get us to a more perfect democracy.

This is an exciting moment. Scores of new organizations are emerging that support civility and resist poison partisanship. One activist calls this new effort “the Healthy Democracy Movement.” It pinpoints two specific areas that can be addressed to bring public participation in civil dialogue to the next level, and perhaps to the scale necessary to help solve today’s crisis of citizenship.


7 Ways for Teens to Get Involved in Politics

Posted by Hannah Briggs. Reposted from Inspire-USA.org.

Staring down an election year is daunting enough, but knowing that you won’t be able to head to the polls adds another layer of anxiety. Luckily, though, there are things you can do to get involved with politics as a teenager without casting a ballot.

With minor elections around the corner and the General election swiftly approaching next year, it can be frustrating for young people who want to make their voices heard. Sure, you want to join the youth voter movement, but you’re too young to register or vote this year. Staring down an election year is daunting enough, but knowing that you won’t be able to head to the polls adds another layer of anxiety. Luckily, though, there are things you can do to get involved with politics as a teenager without casting a ballot.


Why you don't vote.

By Ethan Somers. Reposted from UniteAmerica.org

Voting in America is complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

In 2014, just 37% of people turned out to elect 36 Senators and 435 Representatives to office. Two years later during the highly publicized presidential election, only 61% of Americans took the opportunity to make their voice heard. While that may sound bad, the numbers seem even worse when we look at comparable countries. Out of the Organization for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) countries (essentially a group of economically developed, democratic nations), the United States comes in 26th out of 32. That’s not the leading presence we normally imagine when talking about our country.


The Case for National Service

By Randy Lioz. Reposted from Better-Angels.org.

The generation that came of age during the Great Depression and helped to carry not just this country, but the developed world, through the Second World War, was deemed by Tom Brokaw to be “the greatest generation any society has ever produced,” and our reverence for their sacrifices has indeed led us to assign them the “Greatest Generation” title almost officially.

We remember their sacrifices not only in terms of the soldiers who gave their lives in the war, but also in terms of our entire society’s mass mobilization. Their experience at home was defined by rationing of raw materials, scrap drives, victory gardens, and a major emergence of women in the workforce, which created a major shift in social patterns going forward.


Geo-Locating Protests And Tech's Role In Advancing Movements, Part II

Reposted from PublicAgenda.org

In this last installment of the Rewiring Democracy blog series, we’ll explore how technology can be used to create new opportunities for people to connect and work together. Take a look at “Geo-Locating Protests Part I,” which discusses how new technologies can be employed to organize movements and foster community engagement.

TWO MAPS COLLIDE

The technology of geo-location, or geo-fencing, relies on the fact that many smartphone applications track our physical locations, and many social media platforms recommend or require our mailing addresses. It is becoming difficult to hide where we are and where we live.


How to Avoid an ALL CAPS Screaming Match: 5 Tips for Productive Debate

By Albert Navarra. Reposted from AllSides.com.

Hemingway said, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” What does “the world” actually mean? It could mean macro issues, like human rights, social and economic policies, and international peace and prosperity. If you care about these issues, they are certainly worth promoting through sound argument. But “the world” can also mean your world, in an individual sense—for example, your health, your work, and your relationships. These issues affect you directly and are worth improving through sound argument. So when you think about it, there are as many reasons to argue as there are to live. Your life itself is an argument, a statement of your beliefs, values, and what is important to you, and as such, is worth doing well.

It’s important to note, that true argument, the kind of discourse that advances your perspective through logic and reason, is not a screaming match. It’s not an ALL CAPS free-for-all in the comments section. To argue is not to fight.


It Takes a Community - How City Leaders Demonstrate the Power of Citizen-Government Collaboration

At Cities of Service, we believe cities can and should learn from one another. We work with a coalition of more than 260 cities to help city leaders meet pressing challenges by effectively engaging with citizens. And while we’ve learned a lot during a decade of helping cities address issues ranging from neighborhood revitalization to disaster preparedness, we started the Engaged Cities Award so we could find and elevate even more promising ways that city leaders are collaborating with residents to solve problems.

During the inaugural award, we learned about citizen-driven solutions in cities with populations ranging from 47,000 to 9 million on three continents, led by officials from across the political spectrum. We identified 10 finalists, including three winning cities. City leaders collaborated with residents to create safer streets, healthier communities, and better drivers. Others transformed abandoned buildings and public spaces in order to revitalize neighborhoods and reduce conflict. Many did these things with small budgets or no budget at all, demonstrating that any city can achieve similar results when they work together with citizens.


Geo-Locating Protest: The Changing Role Of Tech In Social Movements Part I

GEO-LOCATING PROTEST: THE REVOLUTION COMES TO YOUR DOORSTEP

In 2016, women in several cities began receiving pop-up ads on their smartphones whenever they went near or inside a clinic providing abortions. The ads, which had been sent by anti-choice/ pro-life organizers, offered advice to women who were contemplating abortion. These particular women had been targeted because they had previously looked for Planned Parenthood information online. This practice was ruled an illegal infringement of personal health care data by the attorney general of Massachusetts, but it is one of a number of examples that signal a new phase in the use of technology by activists.


The Psychology of Polarization And How We Can Overcome Our Prejudices

The polar vortex may have retreated for the winter months ago, but the political polarization within the United States certainly has not. Just as meteorologists provide scientific explanations for our frozen toes, social scientists may have some explanations for our frozen political discourse.

America’s political polarization has already been discussed at length. Some blame idiosyncrasies of our system, included closed primaries, money in politics, and the loss of political party ‘middlemen’ for helping elect the most polarized Congress “since the end of the Reconstruction.While these explanations are not wholly inaccurate, the Law of Parsimony states that simpler explanations are more likely to be correct than complicated ones.


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