Kettering Foundation president David Mathews authored an op-ed piece published October 20 on the website of USA TODAY. The article is tied to the conclusion of the Hidden Common Ground initiative, a collaboration by the USA TODAY Network, Public Agenda, National Issues Forums Institute, the America Amplified public radio collaborative, and Kettering.
In the initiative, journalists from the USA TODAY network and America Amplified covered key issues from the presidential election through a citizen-centered lens, revealing surprising common ground on those issues. Throughout the project, National Issues Forums groups around the country held deliberations on these issues, using issue guides prepared by Kettering.
In his article, Mathews makes a point well known to those familiar with the work of Kettering and NIF. When people deliberate over contentious issues, they can find a way forward, even in the face of strong disagreements.
The concluding sentence of his article provides a good sense of Mathews’ argument: “Facing the greatest challenge to democracy in our lifetimes, we not only need to uncover common ground; we need to and can create it.”
You can read Mathews’ article here.