Notes From The Field

Active Citizenship: The Long and Winding Road

Let me tell you about my own journey as a citizen in our democracy. It has been a long and winding road and the journey isn't over yet. Each day, it is easy to see things in our society that seem broken, sad, or unjust. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and want to...

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Subtle is Sublime

Subtle is not a word that gets a lot of use lately. It almost seems old-fashioned. I believe it’s because much of our current approach to living runs counter to things that I would call subtle. Subtle things are often difficult and challenging to describe because they...

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Trust Your Neighbors to Ask the Right Questions

I recently had a unique opportunity to participate in a new project organized by professors from the University of Minnesota, intended to encourage civil discourse and improve citizen engagement in decision making on issues that directly impact the public. The...

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Before You Decide, Seek to Understand

Our school board had a referendum on the last election day ballot, that if approved, would increase funding for our schools over the next ten years. My first instinct was to not vote for the initiative due to my children’s experience in the public schools, and because...

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One-Dimensional Democracy

It seems to be a good time to think about the limitations of our electoral politics to solve our public problems. If we want real change, we also need to own our own role as change agents and policy makers.

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Is Civic Life for the Birds?

During these troubling times, I feel the need to celebrate all that is functional, generous, caring, and admirable in public life. I try to keep myself from getting too disturbed by the events of the day by remembering an interesting discussion I once had with a...

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