Monday, August 21, 2006

report to wrench about the forum

The first ever Corvallis Open Forum was a success, thanks in large part to members of wrench. Thanks for showing up and speaking.

Granted, the numbers were small (~15), but people were respectful and it wasn't boring. We will be there again this coming Sat. from 1-2, possibly longer. (Riverfront Park close to the fountain. We are asking the parks department for permission to move to a shadier spot.)

So here's my synopsis.

I spoke first, about why the forum, what I'm curious about, that kind of thing. Dan was next with a heartfelt rendition of a dreadfully sorrowful tune on the accordian. Then people started expressing their political views and after the lone republican spoke, a back-and-forth happened, between the republican and everyone else. In other words, mr. republican sustained a barrage of questions from the crowd and deflected them by reason of not having enough time.

Which reminds me, for those who were there, but didn't fill out a questionaire, is three minutes good, too long or too short? Any other suggestions, comments?

Anyways, I don't know if I can make it for pizza and beer this week, but I'll try if its on.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

pfb post forum briefing

the first forum was a success. Not an overwhelming success, but a success nonetheless.
We pulled it off. We didn't sink, bog down and no one got hurt.
A few people other than the organizers showed up, the majority of which were members of wrench. I counted at least 12-15 total. Anyways, the group is psyched and ready to invite more members of the community for next week.

There was one fellow who introduced himself as a conservative republican. It seemed to me that the others lobbed a few too many questions at this brave fellow, but everyone was respectful and it seemed like everyone who wanted to speak was able to speak.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

corvallis open forum

My speech for the forum due to launch on au19 2006 in corvallis, or:
Actually, I haven't timed this version, so if its not under three minutes I'll have to edit or speak more quickly.

Greetings fellow citizens of the world, neighbors, friends and family,
Hi, I’m T, one of the organizers of this space.
Thank you for your attention and for being here for something experimental.
So, what are we doing here?

Well, a problem as I see it, is that there is a severe lack of civil discourse in the culture of America. This nation was founded from a culture of town hall meetings, congresses, conventions and otherwise real democracy where real debate occurred. And from the increased number of viewpoints being suggested, truly great ideas emerged. E Pluribus Unum. From Multitudes, One. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Today we’ve become of culture of closeted bloggers and choir members and preachers; we stay in our respective camps, we’re so polarized we’re coming full circle on some issues. But that’s not counting the legions of completely apathetic folk, of course, you know, the people lost in tv land (I know because I used to be one).

Too long have we accepted the notion that the two subjects one should never discuss in society are religion and politics. There are no more important subjects to discuss especially with people with a different viewpoint. We need to get back to the roots of our Nation to deal with the problems of the 21st century and take democracy to the next level.

Now, if the idea of a civilized, open, public forum intrigues you, realize that all it really takes is an audience of participants. And that audience will here every week until it starts raining at which point we’ll find an indoor location. I for one, hopefully among others, or unless I get gunned down, will be here to listen to what you have to say regarding your view of the world, whatever that may be. Be forewarned that I may not agree with you but I will do my best to express my views as respectfully and honestly as I can.

What is a problem as you see it? What should be done about it?
What is real? What is illusion?
Who are you? What is your story? I don’t care how low or how high you are on the supposed ladder of success, and I don’t care what you look like. I believe we’re all the children of God, worthy of respect, and call me what you will, but I want to know. And I have a hunch that you have a lot to say. Furthermore, I suspect that we have much more in common than we’ve ever experienced.

And I hope to meet you, hear you, and debate ideas with you very soon.

Thanks again for your attention.
With that, I humbly yield the box