Tom’s shift in subjectivity

This is a lengthy recent email from Tom Atlee detailing his personal transformation as a result of a dialogue between leaders of the conservative right and leaders of the liberal left. Interesting!
An excerpt:
“On June 11, 2004 I was privileged to join in a fascinating meeting of Left and Right organized by Democacy in America Project. This unusual gathering was funded by the visonary Fetzer Institute and generously hosted at their wooded Seasons Retreat Center in Kalamazoo, MI. When we said our good-byes three days later, I knew my worldview had been changed forever….
…The organizers had invited leaders of the liberal and progressive Left as well as some of Joseph’s longtime friends and associates on the Right. … a couple of former Clinton administration officials came — Shirley Wilcher of Wilcher Global LLC and the National Congress of Black Women, and Carl Fillichio of the Council for Excellence in Government — and a number of other folks who have roots in progressive politics, like myself, Mark Satin of THE RADICAL MIDDLE newsletter, and Michael Toms of New Dimensions Radio. Among the pillars of the conservative movement who attended were David Keene, Chair of the American Conservative Union (the largest grassroots conservative organization in the U.S.); Bill Thomson, National Field Director and a leading spokesperson for the Christian Coalition; FBI veteran Gary Aldrich, founder of The Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty (and author of UNLIMITED ACCESS); and columnist and radio talk show host Bob Barr, former US Congressman from Georgia and a board member for the National Rifle Association.
Other participants included Laura Chasin of the Public Conversation Project, Lawry Chickering of Educate Girls Globally (and author of BEYOND LEFT AND RIGHT), Joe Goldman of America Speaks, Barbara Marx Hubbard of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution (and author of CONSCIOUS EVOLUTION), Ethan Leib (author of DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA), Jeff Peters of We The People, Ginny Sloan of the Constitution Project, Pat Spino of the Democracy in America Project, Donna Wiesner of BrainTrain, Zoe Schonfeld of the NY office of the Legal Aid Society, and Jeri Barr of Cobb Family Resources….
…we signed the following declaration:
“We the people, gathered at the Season’s Conference Center, Kalamazoo, Michigan, June 11-13, 2004, seeking to form a more perfect Union now in 21st Century America, declare:
* We cherish our country and the founding ideals and institutions on which it stands.
* We respect our differences and recognize America needs every one our viewpoints, ideas and passions – even those we don’t agree with – to keep our democracy vital and alive.
* We recognize that meeting here and across our land for dialogues across differences builds trust, understanding, respect and empowerment – the conditions necessary for freedom and democracy to live in us and around us.
* And therefore, each still grounded in our own considered views (conscience and convictions), we commit ourselves and our communities of interest to foster dialogue across the many divides in America, in large and small groups, to build trust, insight and inspired action towards the more perfect union we all desire.
* And we support the work of Let’s Talk America and Democracy in America Project – and other efforts – to bring Americans into conversations that are inclusive, non-partisan, respectful and open – guided by hosts and ground rules that allow all the voices of ‘We the People’ to be heard.”
For another perspective on this gathering, see this report in the (a href=””>Radical Middle Newsletter.
Tom’s current signature quotation:
“Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn’t just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards.” — Theodore Zeldin

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