Speaking Out, The Talking Stick & Citizens Assembled
“The America I want Is…” program is about individual expression, collective listening, and citizen involvement. It’s an idea as important now as at any time in our country’s history. If you want to participate in America's future, now is the time to do so.
We at Linley Foundation have created a public forum for Americans to reflect on what we want for our country, and how our country might better serve our hopes and aspirations.There are many platforms in our virtual space to express our opinions.There are far fewer where we are invited to listen to one another. Our work is based on the simple proposition that if you want to change minds, you must first change hearts. And to change hearts, we need a way to gather and talk to each other beyond sound bites and headlines.
Our Public Square
America's democratic public square is loud, exhilarating, and, frequently, hilarious. It can also be nasty, combative, and downright obnoxious. It is the nature of living in a democracy where we give ultimate authority to everyone. To live in a democracy requires civic preparation, skills, and a thick skin. Today, the temperature in our public square is hot. The America I Want program is a form of timeout, a cooling off period to reflect. Our goal is not to get everyone to agree, but rather to affirm the essential democratic principle that we will not always get our way and must often agree to disagree.
So Much in Common
There is solid evidence Americans are united in purpose. It shows in the personal aspirations of each one of us. We want the freedom to be ourselves and to express ourselves. We want to grow to our full potential without unfair obstacles blocking our paths. We want economic and healthcare security. We want to live in safe neighborhoods and send our children to good schools. In sum, we want to live a life of richness through our work, families, and friends while exploring our possibilities. These are among the aspirations binding us together. America is simply an extension of ourselves. We are the society we admire and we criticize.
We chose as our models the indigenous North American Talking Circle and the New England town meeting. We value them both for their egalitarian, participatory principles, and emphasis on deep listening and deliberation. Our times require new and imaginative approaches. In a sense, we are digitizing two respected American traditions, so that all Americans, no matter their political preference or where they live, might participate.
Our goal is to invite a calmer and more deliberative national dialogue. This is a grassroots program. We have gone straight to the people to ask them what they want for their country. Our endgame is to assemble participants and policymakers to determine how to realize the people's hopes and desires for their country. Our program is not a forum where like minded people end up talking to one another—preaching to the choir. The America I Want reflects the great diversity of our country. So join our program! Tell us what you want for America. Let's seize this moment, as we imagine a new 21st century America.
A Word From
"The America I Want is..." social media program allows Americans of all ages and throughout the land to express their hopes and dreams for their country. It offers an aspirational portrait of America by Americans. It is also an exercise in listening. We at Linley are proud to sponsor this program.
© 2022 THE AMERICA I WANT IS. All Rights Reserved. Design by Lucas Petit Caputo and Maria Lucia Ferreira/ reconceived by Blackthorn Publishing/ Logo: Cristina Gomes / Video graphics: Guto Coelho