Heierbacher: Dialogue and Deliberation as the Basis Sustainable Decision Making

Sandy Heierbacher, Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD), gives a nice two-paragraph summary this morning of what her organization’s work is all about:

[…] Our most urgent problems seem even more unsolvable because of our inability to come together civilly and discuss issues and potential solutions in depth with all “sides.”

I work in a field that is trying to change that. We work to bring people together across political, ethnic, generational, economic and ideological divides — sometimes political leaders, sometimes everyday citizens, sometimes both. The idea is that if we can truly hear each other’s stories, and learn why they hold the values and opinions they do (we call this “dialogue”), that we’ll be better able to consider differing opinions on how our most challenging problems should be handled (“deliberation”) — weighing the trade-offs that are inherent in every decision that could be made.

It’s about sitting down and working together, like grown ups, to accomplish something we can only accomplish together, united. It’s not rocket science, and it can sound a bit fluffy and idealist. But actually, it’s just how we learn to deal with all the things that make us human — emotions, pride, values, opinions, perspectives, science, media, facts — and still get things done. In politics, it’s the best way to make lasting decisions and policies (rather than policies the other side overturns as soon as they’re able to), because you create buy-in and trust for policies that don’t compromise people’s core values.

Very well put.

You can read her full post here: How can we remain United?

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