Democracy Forum 1/21/22: Educating for Democracy: How’s it Working?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

We’ll talk about the political philosophy and history of public education in America.
What is the role of public education in sustaining our fragile republic?
How did public education develop and evolve over time?
What has been or should be the role of public education in creating a shared civic enterprise?

Guests:
Doris Santor, Professor of Education at Bowdoin College.
Jonathan Zimmerman, Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor in Education at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania

To learn more about this topic:

Will US Education Remedy A Half-Century Of Neglecting Civics Education?, Tom Lindsay, Forbes, February 2020

The need for civic education in 21st-century schools, Rebecca Winthrop, Brookings, June 2020

History and Evolution of Public Education in the US, Center on Education Policy, The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development, 2020

Have We Lost Faith in Public Education? | Perspectives on History | AHA Johann N. Neem, July 2018

Democracy’s Schools: The Rise of Public Education in America, Johann Neem, August 2017

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

Prerecorded on 1/21/2022 using Zoom technology.

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 11/19/21: Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Religion: Politics and Religion in America

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Religion: Politics and Religion in America

-What is the constitutional foundation of the separation of church and state?
-Why is it important?
-Is freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights? How did the doctrine emerge and develop from the prohibition on the establishment of religion?
-How is the interpretation and practice affecting modern politics?
-What is the intersection of political activism and religious groups, now and in our history?

Guests:
Mark Brewer, Professor of Political Science and Department Chair, University of Maine
Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion & Public Life, Department of Political Science, Concurrent Associate Professor of Law, Notre Dame University

To learn more about this topic:

Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, James Madison, presented to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785

In U.S., Far More Support Than Oppose Separation of Church and State, Pew Research Center, October 2021

The Sleeper SCOTUS Case That Threatens the Separation of Church and State, The Atlantic, October 2021

Two Concepts of Religious Liberty: The Natural Rights and Moral Autonomy Approaches to the Free Exercise of Religion, Vincent Phillip Munoz, American Political Science Review, May 2016

Opinion | If they’re going to keep passing religious laws, we’re going to need exemptions, Washington Post, September 2021

The 2020 Census of American Religion, Public Religion Research Institute, July 2021

How ‘In God We Trust’ bills are helping advance a Christian nationalist agenda, The Conversation, July 2021

Relevant No More?: The Catholic/Protestant Divide in American Electoral Politics by Mark D. Brewer, 2003

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Michael Fisher, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther
Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 10/15/21: In Government We Trust — Or Do We?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

We talk about trust and distrust in government.
What is the history of distrust in government in the US?
How has it been weaponized in the last half-century?
What do we lose when we have a blanket distrust in government: who loses and who gains?
What motivates strategic attempts to weaken government?
In what way is distrust a weapon in the arsenal of attempts to weaken or reduce government?

Guests:
Amy Fried, John Mitchell Nickerson Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine
Steven Webster, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Indiana University

To learn more about this topic:

How Republicans Stoke Anti-Government Hatred by Luisa S. Deprez in Washington Monthly, August 27, 2021

Covid vaccine resistance and the Capitol riot stem from the GOP long weaponizing distrust, by Noah Berlatsky in NBC New Think, Aug. 3, 2021

Are Liberals to Blame for Our Crisis of Faith in Government? by Louis Menand, August 9, 2021 in The New Yorker

At War with Government: How Conservatives Weaponized Distrust from Goldwater to Trump by Amy Fried and Douglas B. Harris, August 2021

Rebuilding Trust in American Institutions By Sonal Shah & Hollie Russon Gilman Jan. 27, 2021, Stanford Social Innovation Review

American Rage: How Anger Shapes Our Politics, Cambridge University Press, by Steven W. Webster, Indiana University. August 2020

Stoking the Beast By Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic JUNE 2006

Key findings about Americans’ declining trust in government and each other, Pew Research Center, July 22, 2019

The Republicans waged a 3-decade war on government. They got Trump. By Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann Jul 18, 2016, Vox

Prerecorded on 9/13 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther,Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 9/17/21: The Two-party System and the Future of Our Democracy

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

We’ll talk about the history and the future of the two major parties,
How parties change and evolve, how/why they splinter.
Are the parties too strong or too weak?
Are the two major parties in this moment so polarized that the system itself is undermined?
Has the modern two-party system made us ungovernable?
What reforms and options might be realistic? — multi-member districts, proportional representation, ranked choice voting?

Guest:
Lee Drutman, senior fellow at New America. He is the author of Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America
Sandy Maisel, Goldfarb Family Distinguished Professor of American Government at Colby College (emeritus)

To learn more about this topic:
“Quiz: If America Had Six Parties, Which Would You Belong To?” by Lee Drutman in the New York Times, September 8, 2021

“Have Democrats become a party of the left?” William A. Galston and Elaine Kamarck, for Brookings, July, 2021

“The Decline of the GOP,” Norm Ornstein in The Atlantic, August, 2020

Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America, by Lee Drutman, March, 2020. Watch an interview with the author at Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop – Political Reform.

Parties and Elections in America: The Electoral Process. by Mark D. Brewer and L.Sandy Maisel, ninth edition, 2020

The Parties Respond: Changes in American Parties and Campaigns (Transforming American Politics) Mark D. Brewer and L. Sandy Maisel, fifth edition, 2018 (essay collection)

“This Maine Initiative Could Shake Up the Two-Party System,” by Hendrik Hertberg in The Nation, October, 2016.

It’s Even Worse Than It Looks by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, April, 2016.

“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: America’s Love Affair with the Two-Party System,” Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, Marc Horger, July 2013.

Prerecorded on 9/15 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 6/18/21: Protest: Good Citizenship at Work?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Protest: Good Citizenship at Work?

We talk about whether protests are a legitimate, if not necessary, form of civic participation.
Are protests good citizenship or are they civil disorder?
Is protesting effective in changing public policy?
Are nonviolent actions more effective than those that involve violence?
When do protest movements succeed?

Guests:
Douglas Allen, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Maine
Erica Chenoweth, Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at the Harvard Kennedy SchooL and a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

To learn more about this topic:
“What Anti-Protest Bills Reveal About The State Of U.S. Democracy,” OnPoint, WBUR, April, 2021

Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know, Erica Chenoweth, March, 2021

“The Myth of the Silent Majority: Americans have learned the wrong lessons about the political consequences of protest,” Daniel Gillian, The Atlantic, September, 2020.

“Protesting is as important as voting,” Andre M. Perry and Carl Romer, Brookings, August, 2020

“The Future of Nonviolent Resistance,” Erica Chenoweth, Journal of Democracy, July, 2020.

“Why protests matter in American democracy,” Daniel Gillion, Princeton University Press, June, 2020

Gandhi after 9/11: Creative Nonviolence and Sustainability, Douglas Allen, April, 2019

Prerecorded on 6/16 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther
Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 5/21/21 Democracy and Unions: Do They Need Each Other?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

We talk about the historical and contemporary link between labor organizing and expanding political rights like voting.
-Is union organizing an important, if not essential, tool in building a vibrant democracy?
-Has the diminution of labor unions contributed to the politics of resentment?
-Has it provided fertile ground for the current moment of populist anger and stridently divided politics?
-What led to the demise of unions over the last half century?
-How could they come back?

Guests:
David Madland, resident senior fellow and senior adviser to the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress.
Cynthia Phinney, President of the Maine AFL-CIO. She was the first woman elected to that position in 2015.

To learn more about this topic:
Re-Union: How Bold Labor Reforms Can Repair, Revitalize, and Reunite the United States, David Madland, May, 2021
In 2020, the number of unionized workers dropped, while the share of union members increased, USAFacts, January, 2021
Democracy Dies When Labor Unions Do, Eric Levitz in New York, September, 2019
Democracy Needs Unions, Christine Owens at Other Words, August 28, 2019
The Conservative Case for Unions, Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic, July/August 2017
Democracy, Union Made, Phil Fishman in The American Interest, September 2007

Prerecorded on 5/17/2021 using Zoom technology

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Michael Fisher, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther
Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 4/16/21 Divided We Stand: Can diversity be our strength?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Key Discussion Points:
Whether this is one of the most divided moments in American history.
How have these fractured moments come up in our prior history?
What role is the emergence of multiracial democracy playing in this current divisive moment?
What role has race played in the divisions of the past?
Can a polity come back from such serious fragmentation?
How have we gotten past it before, or have we?

Guests:
David Blight, Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies at Yale University, and the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, among many other books and articles.

Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Colby College. She is also an ordained Baptist minister and the assistant pastor for special projects at the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

To learn more about this topic:
“Three Great Revolutions: W. E. B. Du Bois, African American Women and Social Change,” Cheryl Gilkes in the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 2016.
“America is exceptional in the nature of its political divide,” Pew Research Center, November, 2020.
“How can America heal from the Trump era? Lessons from Germany’s transformation into a prosperous democracy after Nazi rule,” Sylvia Taschka in The Conversation, January, 2021.
“Appomattox and the Ongoing Civil War,” David Blight in The Atlantic, April, 2015.
“Multiracial Democracy Is 55 Years Old. Will It Survive?,” Adam Serwer in The Atlantic, January, 2021.
Anchor of the Soul, a documentary about Black history in Maine, 1994
“W.E.B. Du Bois’ Visionary Infographics Come Together for the First Time in Full Color,” wherein his pioneering team of black sociologists created data visualizations that explained institutionalized racism to the world, Smithsonian, 2018
Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy, Edward Ball, 2020

Prerecorded on 4/14/2021 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:

Martha Dickinson, Michael Fisher, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.

Democracy Forum 3/19/21: Is that for real? Conspiracy Theories in American Politics

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Participatory Democracy: Is that for real? Conspiracy Theories in American Politics

We’ll talk about the political and social conditions that give rise to conspiracy movements.
Why are people drawn to these ideas?
What are the conditions in civil society that are feeding into these trends?
How have these moments come up in our history?
How have we gotten past it before?
Can democracy function when these beliefs are widespread?

Guests:

Jamie McKown, James Russell Wiggins Chair in Government and Polity at College of the Atlantic
Joanne Miller, Associate Professor, Political Science & International Relations, Director of Graduate Studies, University of Delaware

To learn more about this topic:
Speaking of Psychology: Why people believe in conspiracy theories, with Karen Douglas, PhD, podcast of the American Psychological Association
Gender Differences in COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory Beliefs, Erin C. Cassese, Christina E. Farhart, and Joanne M. Miller. 2020
A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy, Nancy L. Rosenblum and Russell Muirhead, 2019

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Michael Fisher, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.