We were quite inspired recently to hear the story of a mother who, challenged by her teenager’s accusation of being political intolerant, launched an online platform and documentary project aimed at breaking down political barriers and bridging the deepest divides in our democracy. We know that the vitriol and divisiveness of today’s political discourse is one of the key challenges to achieving a thriving, functional democracy, and the Bring it to the Table project is traveling the country to encourage genuine engagement and dialogue across differences. You can read more about it below or find the original post on the AmericaSpeaks blog here.
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 even amongst friends and family. Increasingly, political pundits dictate the tenor of our national conversation and we have allowed divisive catch phrases to supplant genuine dialogue. One filmmaker–a mother of two teenagers– is traveling across the United States with a star-spangled table asking people to sit down with her and share their political beliefs.
Bring it to the Table Asks: Why Do You Believe What You Believe?
By Julie Winokur, Executive Producer, Bring it to the Table
After my 17-year-old son accused me of being “intolerant” and “narrow minded” with regard to politics, I was so impacted by his statement that rather than continuing to be part of the problem, I decided to become part of the solution. During the 2012 election cycle, I launched Bring it to the Table and set out across the country on a mission to listen and to mobilize others to do the same.
Bring it to the Table is a participatory online platform, webisode series and community engagement campaign designed to bridge the political divide and strengthen our democracy. This innovative, cross-platform brings citizens together around the political issues that normally tear us apart.
I launched Bring it to the Table because I was saddened by our nation’s divisive politics and the disservice it does to our democracy. I wanted to be a fly on the wall during other people’s dinner conversations, but since that would have been difficult to achieve, I decided to literally bring my table to the people. We are traveling to communities and public places across the country to ask citizens to sit down and speak candidly about their political beliefs in a non-confrontational setting.
Since filming began in early 2012, my team and I have conducted 120 interviews in select barbershops, bookstores, churches, the RNC, the DNC, dog parks, bars, senior centers and other locations. I want to hear from you: Why do you believe what you believe?
What makes this interactive documentary film project extraordinary is the spectrum of beliefs that defy podium sound bites and partisan assumptions. Viewers are captivated when they learn the stereotypes they assumed, are not accurate.
Bring it to the Table actively fosters the cross-pollination of voices and ideas. It is not intended to change anyone’s ideology or political affiliations, but rather to encourage respect, understanding and genuine dialogue. Discovering shared values and concerns can lead not only to collaborative actions between individual Americans, but it could inspire politicians to do the same.
Have a seat and join the conversation at: www.bringit2thetable.org