Does Democracy Need A Face Lift?

june, 2021

06jun3:00 pmFeaturedDoes Democracy Need A Face Lift?Conversations on the Green3:00 pm

Event Details

This virtual town hall will bring together renowned and politically diverse voices to discuss democracy’s collapse and the roadmap to its repair.

Once considered democracy’s bedrock, a proud model for the world, the American experiment in constitutional government is being battered and, many historians and pundits now warn, is in danger of collapsing, making the battle to sustain democracy this century’s preeminent challenge.

The effort to rebuild and fortify democracy in the face of worldwide gains by autocracies is the heart of “Common Ground with Jane Whitney’s” third show of the 2021 season. The June 6 forum assembles a panel of renowned voices to discuss the escalating threats to undermine the rule of law and to disenfranchise swaths of Americans as well as how the country can rebuild its constitutional guardrails.

Washington Post Columnist E.J. Dionne Jr., who made a career, to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Porter, ‘of swearing against both extremes from either extreme,’ headlines the forum. Labeled a “radical centrist” by Time magazine, Dionne spent decades emphasizing the overlaps in partisans’ aspirations and breaking down the flawed logic in their tribalism.

The second panelist is Bret Stephens, a renowned contrarian, New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner who rocketed to fame as the neo-conservative foreign-affairs columnist and  deputy editorial page editor at The Wall Street Journal. Once considered a neocon and leading voice of the right with influence in capitals around the world, he is now viewed as an ambassador of the center right and a homeless Republican.

Our third panelist is Heather Cox Richardson, a wildly popular historian best known for her daily newsletter, Letters from an American, which explains current events through a historical lens. By day, Richardson is a professor of 19th century American history at Boston College; at night she churns out the 1,200-word newsletters for over 500,000 readers. Richardson naps at her desk or dining table between dinner and writing, saying her sleep deprivation is a “small price to pay” compared to sacrifices others have made to keep our country a democracy.

The final panelist is María Teresa Kumar, a founder and the president of Voto Latino, which works to register Latinx voters and to combat Latinx stereotypes. Under Kumar’s leadership, the organization has registered over a million voters, developed an award-winning telenovela miniseries about voter registration and helped establish the fourth Tuesday of September as National Voter Registration Day. Voto Latino’s research has changed the ways campaigns target Latinx voters by dispelling prominent misconceptions, such as that Latino voters mainly speak Spanish or prioritize immigration above other policy issues.

Moderated by former NBC correspondent and national talk show host Jane Whitney, this interactive symposium, which begins at 3 p.m. on June 6th and runs 90 minutes, will be live streamed, allowing anyone with an internet-connected device to participate and ask questions. Tickets can be reserved for $25 at proceeds from Conversations on the Green events benefit local organizations including the Susan B. Anthony Project, New Milford Hospital, Greenwoods Counseling & Referrals, and the American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund, which provides immediate assistance to those risking their lives during this crisis.

Conversations on the Green brings together nationally-recognized voices together to support its mission of educating and invigorating the American public through discussion of the country’s most provocative issues and ideas. Based in Litchfield, CT, COGs are interactive, Town Hall style forums allowing both the speakers and the audience to share experiences, perspectives and insights in an effort to build an ongoing conversation that strengthens community bonds.


(Sunday) 3:00 pm