Making Democracy Work

Democracy Forum

Democracy Forum on WERU FM Community Radio

July -- Civil Discourse: Can We Still Do It?

The League of Women Voters Downeast in cooperation with WERU FM is producing and sponsoring a monthly radio program on topics in participatory democracy. It's called the Democracy Forum.

Broadcasts may be heard live from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on the third Friday of the month at WERU Community Radio, 89.9 FM Blue Hill, 99.9 FM Bangor. Listen live on the Web at WERU FM.

Join us the following Wednesday evening, 5:30 - 7:00, for an in-person public conversation on this topic.

Here is information about our upcoming broadcast.

July 21 -- Civil Discourse: Can We Still Do It?

"Don't nag.
Don't boast.
Don't threaten.
Don't lose your temper...
If we can't do any good, at least we must be sure that we don't do any harm."

-- Maude Wood Park, first national president of the League of Women Voters, from her book Front Door Lobby

We'll talk about what civil discourse looks like, why it seems to be so hard right now, how we can practice it ourselves, and what we can to do encourage it in our leaders and public servants here in Maine. We'll take listener calls during the second half of the show.

In case you missed it live, you can listen to this show from the archive at

Special Guests:

Matt Motyl Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois - Chicago
Andrew Rudalevige, the Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government at Bowdoin College
Tomas Spath co-founder of the Institute for Civility in Government

Key Topics:

  • What does our history tell us about partisanship and divisiveness?
  • Is political discourse really more uncivil now than ever before?
  • Does extreme partisanship play a role?
  • Does incivility have strategic value?
  • What does civil discourse look like? Is civility compatible with strong views passionately held?
  • How can we do better in our own communities when we disagree with our neighbors?
  • How can we demand more of our leaders?

To learn more, follow these links to related articles and essays:

Read about and listen to past programs from the League archive.

July 26 -- Public Conversation

Join us at Pat's Pizza, Ellsworth, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. to continue the conversation on Civil Discourse in Maine.

Special guests:

  • Ron Beard and Nina St. Germain, partners in the Bar Harbor Togetherness Project
  • Peggy Smith, founder and trainer at Open Communication.

Light snacks will be served; beverages will be available for purchase.

Future Topics in this Series

Join us to discuss important issues and how they affect us here in Maine.

September, October, November - To Be Announced

Past Topics in this Series

BALLOT QUESTIONS IN MAINE: Whose Initiatives Are They?

THE TWO MAINES: Can We Bridge the Divide?

FAKE NEWS: Who Can You Trust?

FREE TRADE: Winners & Losers in Maine

JOBS IN MAINE: What's the Future?


Read about and listen to past programs from the League archive.