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Bridging the American divide: A search for civic responsibility

Most of us knew the left-right divide was widening in America.

But did any of us think the extreme divisiveness would lead to the sacking of the United States Capitol, for the first time since the War of 1812, by a band of self-described patriots, otherwise known as domestic terrorists, bent on preventing the certification of a presidential election?

The answer is 'Yes' — some of us did imagine that possibility, but not many. If we had imagined that outcome- — if we had discussed it among ourselves and over the divide — could we have prevented the tragic assault? That’s one question. A pertinent follow-up is, what now? What must we do to have that conversation, and prevent more tragedies?

This program includes excerpts of Civic Sermons from Eric Liu of Seattle’s Citizen University, and an in-depth interview Liu did with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds. There’s also a conversation with Mellina White and Jerome Hunter, inspired by KUOW’s Curiosity Club. And we bring you songs by Megan Krantz, Tekla Waterfield, and Kat Bula from a Bushwick Book Club Seattle event inspired by Liu’s book Become America.

This episode of Speakers Forum is part of the Re:Building Democracy project, a collaboration between Humanities Washington, KUOW, Spokane Public Radio, and Northwest Public Broadcasting examining voting and civic reconciliation as essential habits for a healthy democracy.


KUOW’s Curiosity Club

Bushwick Book Club Seattle’s Become America

Citizen University’s Civic Saturday

KUOW’s Community Engagement