This past week, I was fortunate enough to be involved with a terrific event named FREED SPEECH. It was an evening devoted to civil discourse. Sounds a bit dry … maybe even boring? Not if you throw in some great thinkers, like former legislator Laura Brod, professor Wendy Wyatt, Citizens League honcho Sean Kershaw and rapper and spoken word artist Dessa. Oh, and have it moderated and keynoted by the ever talented CNN morning anchor Soledad O’Brien. Throw in some great improv comedy and a killer after party and guess what: people showed up. The historic Pantages Theater in downtown Minneapolis was full of folks who were interested in getting beyond mindless partisanship. Standing room only folks. Who knew?
Supported by Target and the University of St. Thomas’ College of Arts and Sciences, FREED SPEECH was intelligent, entertaining and dare I say it, useful. The evening explored the issue of civil discourse as the rules of the game, if you will, of how we can go about the important business of disagreeing without being disagreeable. In other words: how can we debate and move forward rather than battle left and right? (more…)