The conversations begin

A big part of my road trip is the conversations I’ll have with friends and strangers. My challenge will be to listen to what folk have to say, not to advocate.

I want to find out three things:

  1. What has changed over the past 50 years?
  2. What is America like now?
  3. And why?

I had a chance meeting with another individual who is having conversations. I came across Chancey Williams in Cheesman Park in Denver before I started on the road trip. He had set up a couple of chairs under the shade of a tree in the 36c heat of Denver.

I sat down with Chancey – it was a chance both to test out my conversation approach and to answer Chancey’s questions about what matters. I found it a valuable experience, and an example of what America needs at this time. Hopefully I can contribute through my road trip conversations.

Chancey has also prepared a reading list to help with effective conversations.

Chancey Williams, Cheesnman Park, Denver CO
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145 Responses

  1. I see America as a set of glaring contradictions and I am not just referring to the political schism that is running through the country. It seems incongruous for a country that regards itself as a bedrock of democracy to embrace a system whereby a politician can appoint judges to its Supreme Court based not on their wisdom or extensive knowledge of the law but on their allied political beliefs. The political control of a judicial system is a hallmark of despotic regimes around the world mostly despised by America.
    There are also societal contradictions. It would be interesting for you to have a conversation with someone who believes it is wrong to “kill” a foetus (which is not a human being) but OK to sell semi-automatic assault rifles to an 18 year old without extensive background checks who can then go out and murder innocent schoolchildren.
    It seems that so many Americans are eager to voice strong opinions on divisive issues but are not willing to listen to, and consider, alternative views. Perhaps the art of debate is lost and the power of social media to give a “voice” to everyone promotes shouting by the self-opinionated so that issues become a binary war of words.
    I am sure you will find many more contradictions to explore and unravel.
    If only more people could follow your lead and engage in discourse rather then ‘trench warfare’.

  2. Thanks Peter, pertinent questions and observations. From my conversations so far, I’ve heard the full spectrum of views, including pro-life and gun owning, a not uncommon stance held by many Americans. I’ve heard no shortage of strong opinions, but also an optimism from some that a balance will return. Quite how we get to that balance without generative conversations I have yet to uncover.

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