As we’ve navigated running an organization dedicated to healing toxic polarization during the most fractious time in American history since, well, the Civil War (we really did voluntarily sign up for that), we’ve been schooled in the nature of human psychology, our groupish nature and the societal factors that lower or raise our national estrangement. This hard-scrap education has kept leading us back to the same conclusion — one that seems to be increasingly supported by scholars and wise leaders from across the political spectrum — fixing this ultimately is a bottom-up endeavor, one that we citizens ultimately have more control over than divisive leaders want us to know. It will be in hometowns like this one, between people like us, where a new spirit will take hold — then spread sideways. That means we’d better stop waiting around for someone else to save us. (Think we’re overstating our case? Read this recent Nicholas Kristof piece. We’ve got no Minister of Loneliness or Chatty Benches, but we’ve got The Village Square.)
This year’s Dinner at the Square season features two inspiring guests who show us how and remind us why the cure isn’t just doable, it’s how we save ourselves too. On October 17th Dr. Todd Rose, author of “Collective Illusions,” will help us understand the reasons we’re caught inside a cycle of making tragically incorrect judgements about each other and show us the way out. On March 5th, Johns Hopkins University’s Seth Kaplan will be our sherpa through “an urgent exploration of why American society is in trouble, and how to fix it, starting with the places we call home.” Seth’s “Fragile Neighborhoods” (out in October) will convince you that this hometown we share has everything to do with the lives we live inside of it. (And we’re not just going to be talking, we’ll be building—page down for our clubs.)
We hope you’ll join us all year in our devoted pursuit of a Tallahassee where we all belong — left, right, black, white, rich, poor, young, old. All of us. You can start simply by joining us for dinner. Click here to buy season tickets (saves you $10 off the price of two dinners individually). Page down on this page to learn more about each individual dinner program and to buy tickets to one of them.
Our annual town hall pairs commissioners from the City of Tallahassee and Leon County to have a constructive (and neighborly) discussion about where we are, where we're going and what the challenges ahead might be.
Join us as we welcome Seth Kaplan, author of "Fragile Neighborhoods: Repairing American Society One Zip Code at a Time" for an urgent exploration of why American society is in trouble, and how to fix it, starting with the places we call home.
Our current divisions—one American from another—are deep and wide. But what if we are profoundly, completely and tragically wrong about each other? What if it's our own mistaken assumptions about the true beliefs of people on our "side" that is driving the escalating tensions? We'd best figure that out. Fast.