On Tuesday, November 3rd 2020, you and I, alongside 160 million other U.S. citizens, will be asked to participate in a variety of local, statewide, and national elections. These elections, in one way or another, will be asking us to do two things. First, decide who should be our next president, our next vice president, our next senators and congresspersons, as well as our next state and local officials. Second, affirm or reject the direction forward that our current politicians have forged for us over the last several years. This election is 22 months away, but even now it’s obvious that these choices will be among the most consequential we'll ever make.
It’s also clear the issues that are at the heart of this election involve some of the most complex, highly controversial choices that have ever been on a national ballot. Most of these choices are now, and will continue to be, too complex for most of us, as solitary individuals, to truly understand. These ballot choices won’t offer us any heroes. Nor will they offer us any simple right or wrong choices, no sure, decisive ways forward. Nonetheless, the votes we cast, the choices we make will be seminal.
Without some serious preparation, some kind of focused self-directed educational effort, I believe most of us won’t be able to make wise, well-informed decisions in 2020. Without serious, concentrated preparation, the decisions we’ll make 22 months from now will most likely be choices that have been influenced and even inflamed by the highly polarized political environment that’s been the touchstone of our politics for years. In this environment, getting ready to make wise, well-reasoned, adequately evidenced choices will require the kind of concerted educational effort that most of us have never thought necessary. Before now.
I’ve thought about all this, and have concluded that I know only one good way to get ready for our November 3rd, 2020 elections. Between now and then I, with a few select others, need to engage in an extended series of dialogue sessions, where each session is one that’s focused on specific aspects of this election in an open-ended conversation about what wise, responsible choices could and should look like.
Consequently, starting today, I’m convening a series of quarterly Presidential Election Dialogue Sessions. Each of the dialogues in this series will be focused on getting those participating fully prepared to cast wise and reasoned votes in all the various elections they’ll be involved in during November 2020.
Join me in this effort. I realize that asking you to say "yes" to this experiment is big. But, given all that we’ve watched and been a part of over the last couple of years, doesn’t it seem like getting involved in this kind of preparatory effort is absolutely necessary? Perhaps even an important part of our civic duty?