I am thoroughly enjoying listening to your conversation with Frances Kissling. I am, however, struck by her description of common ground. I want to share this because the sense of "common ground" that Frances expressed on your show is not at all what I experienced. During the mid-late 1990s, I was actively involved in the Common Ground Network for Life & Choice, a project of the organization Search for Common Ground. This project grew out of concern on both sides of the abortion debate that the political conversation was leading to murders at abortion clinics. My own reason for becoming involved was a long-held frustration that the "movement" was getting no where; in fact, seemed only to be making things worse.
Frances must have had some other experience through the Public Conversations Project, because the work we did at CGNLC was *wholly* grounded in understanding the values behind why people felt the way they did. The full-day session we would hold yearly the week after the Roe v. Wade anniversary (and the week after the ProLife March) was focused entirely on helping attendees listen to and understand each other's values and experiences that lead them to hold the views on abortion that they did. Our ongoing monthly or quarterly afternoon sessions were also so focused. It was only through understanding the values and experiences of the other, that we could come anywhere near finding some space of common ground from which to work. And that common ground focused on answering the question: "How can we reduce the number of abortions?"
I was thrilled to learn of the gathering that Frances convened in Princeton in 2010, yet less thrilled that this was not covered by NPR, much less more mainstream media.
Keep up the good work, both of you, Krista and Frances.
More information about text formats