The Democracy Group

The Democracy Group

Welcome to The Democracy Group - a network of podcasts about democracy, civic engagement, and civil discourse. In this feed you will find a sampling of episodes from our podcasts in the Democracy Group as well recordings from our events. If you enjoy this podcast, please visit democracygroup.org to find all of our podcast shows, events, topic guides, and newsletter. read less
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Episodes

Democracy's Good News: When Faith and Civics Meet to Strengthen Democracy
1w ago
Democracy's Good News: When Faith and Civics Meet to Strengthen Democracy
Today we feature interviews with three religious organizations. These organizations share their current programs that promote civic duties and community engagement across the country.  Harbonim Dror Camp Galil is a summer camp in Ottsville, Pennsylvania. Executive Director David Weiss joins us to discuss their daily programs for campers aged 7-17. These programs include staging protests and holding forums to discussing any topics of their choice, which can range from a later bedtime and more muffins to climate change and gender imbalance.The Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom has been a part of Reading, Pennsylvania for nearly 160 years. Rabbi Brian Michelson talks about the decision to maintain a polling site on their campus throughout the Passover holiday in Jewish beliefs. He emphasizes the importance of religious observance but also celebrates the American right to express freedom through voting.The Mormon Women for Ethical Government has a two-part mission, to advocate for ethical governance and empower women to be independent, ethical, and political actors. Co-Executive Director Jennifer Thomas touches on their faith-based values that have guided thousands of members in MWEG’s local chapters across 49 states to serve their local communities one way or another.These organizations express a commitment to empowering voters, children, and women and encourage involvement in local communities through spiritual values.  Timestamps:0:00 Democracy's Good News1:34 David Weiss, the executive director of Camp Galil3:52 Rabbi Brian, Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom7:08 Director Jennifer Thomas, Mormon Women for Ethical GovernmentHear more at democracygroup.org
Politics: Majority In The Middle. Shannon Watson | How Do We Fix It?
Mar 18 2024
Politics: Majority In The Middle. Shannon Watson | How Do We Fix It?
News coverage of Super Tuesday and other party primaries focused mainly on base voters— Democrats and Republicans. But most Americans are actually on the political sidelines or somewhere in the middle. Many have a mix of conservative and liberal views.This episode is about them. Our guest is Shannon Watson, the Founder and Executive Director of Majority in the Middle. Her Minnesota-based non-profit group works to give voters and elected officials a place to gather outside the extremes. "We try to elevate the people who are demonstrating the behavior we want to see", Shannon tells us. "When it's only the rabble-rousers who get the coverage then there is an incentive to be one of them." Majority in the Middle also promotes structural changes in governing that will remove barriers to cooperation across the political aisle. While the two parties have a stranglehold on many aspects of elections and governance, record numbers of Americans no longer register as Republican or Democrat. They prefer the label "independent". At the same time, the right and left have changed. Among pro-Trump conservatives, we see a decline in support for free trade and military spending to help traditional allies. The former president has also resisted calls to limit spending on Medicare and social security.Younger Democrats are much less likely to support Israel. The rise of identity politics has also pushed the party to the left.While we've always had partisan division the level of vitriol can obscure the fact that Americans are much more closely aligned on issues such as gun rights, abortion, and immigration than we are led to believe."Not all Democrats agree with all Democrats, and not all Republicans agree with all Republicans," says Shannon Watson.Our podcast conversation mentions the Political Typology Quiz, conducted by Pew Research Center. Polling of more than 10,000 U.S. adults showed that while partisan polarization remains a dominant fact of political life, "the gulf that separates Republicans and Democrats sometimes obscures the divisions and diversity of views that exist within both partisan coalitions – and the fact that many Americans do not fit easily into either one."You can take the Typology Quiz here and see your personal views fit in with nine broad categories of left and right. Additional InformationThe Democracy Group listener surveyHow Do We Fix It? PodcastMore shows from The Democracy Group
Dr. Jonathan Haidt on After Babel: "The Fragmentation of Everything"  | Village SquareCast
Mar 11 2024
Dr. Jonathan Haidt on After Babel: "The Fragmentation of Everything" | Village SquareCast
What if, at a pinnacle of our civilization’s technological achievement, everything just broke — the institutions we’ve come to rely upon in navigating a modern complex world, the shared stories that hold a large and diverse democratic republic together, and even a common language through which to navigate the rising tide of crisis.  According to renowned social psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt, this describes our current reality, one that he calls “After Babel.” In this new normal, we are scattered by a digital environment into feuding tribes that are governed by mob dynamics and driven by a minority of ideological outliers, made stupid at warp speed by group think, and — thanks to social media — armed with billions of metaphorical “dart guns” with which to immediately wound “the enemy” in ways that are hardly only metaphorical. What could go wrong?Our very special guest, Dr. Jonathan Haidt, will delve into the profound impact of social media on democratic societies, dissecting the intricate web of challenges it poses to civic trust and civil discourse. Don’t miss this chance to hear from one of the foremost thought leaders of our time — one who has generously given his counsel to The Village Square, and countless efforts like ours — on this existential challenge of our time. Read Why the Past Ten Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid  in The Atlantic and learn more about Dr. Haidt by clicking the MORE button, below.The program includes a preview of Haidt’s highly anticipated upcoming book The Anxious Generation, available at the end of March. You’re not going to want to miss it.Additional InformationThe Democracy Group listener surveyThe Village SquareCast PodcastMore shows from The Democracy Group