PSU Votes: What's At Stake? Why Vote? 9/26/12

Uploaded by wpsu on 03.10.2012

[ Music ]
>> [Background Music]
Because I'm responsible.
>> I'm responsible.
>> I'm responsible.
>> I'm responsible.
>> I'm responsible.
>> I'm responsible.
>> Making a difference.
It's your turn.
You choose.
[ Music ]
>> Tonight,
we're going
to spend a little more
than four seconds.
We're going to spend
about 60 minutes talking to you
about the importance
of your vote
and what's at stake.
So good evening, welcome.
My name is Chris Arbutina
and I'm pleased tonight
to be the moderator
of this very first forum in the
"What's at Stake Series".
You know the series has been
planned by a group called PSU
Votes and this is a town-gown
nonpartisan initiative that's
just gotten started.
And they have two goals in mind.
The first is
to help students become more
engaged in the issues
in this year's
Presidential Election.
And the second is
to inspire students to get
out and vote.
To accomplish these goals,
PSU Votes has identified four
topics that will be
at the center of this series
of forums that will be held
between now and the end
of October.
And tonight,
we'll begin the series
with the discussion on,
"Why vote".
Now, I'd like to gather all
of you who are here
in the Hetzel Union Building
on Penn State's University Park
campus along with those of you
who were viewing on the web,
courtesy of WPSU.
And before we begin
at this time, please stand
and join with members
of the Penn State Glee Club
in the National Anthem.
[ Background Sounds ]
>> Oh say can you see
by the dawn's early light.
What so proudly we hailed
at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes
and bright stars
through the perilous fight.
O'er the ramparts we watched,
were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
gave proof through the night
that our flag was still there.
O say does that star-spangled
banner yet wave.
O'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave?
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you, very beautiful,
beautiful rendition.
So, let's get started.
In just six weeks from today,
you're going to wake up,
it's going to be the first
Wednesday of November.
And it will be the day
after something extraordinary
has happened.
It will be the day
after the citizens
of the United States will have
elected someone to serve
as President
for the next four years.
And the question you will have
to ask yourself that morning
as you look
in the mirror will be this,
"Did I participate?
Did I make a decision
and cast a vote?"
In 2008, during our last
Presidential Election,
just over 57 percent
of the voting age population
cast ballots,
which means that more
than 42 percent did not.
So, again, the question,
which side will be--
you be on when you look
in the mirror
that morning six weeks from now?
The fact that you've shown
up here tonight is a good sign.
It's a good sign
that you plan possibly
to cast your ballot.
And hopefully,
the information you hear tonight
from our panelists will affirm
that your vote will count
and will further your
of what's at stake.
In a moment,
I will introduce our panelists
for tonight,
but first some information
about our format.
Tonight's discussion is being
patterned after the National
Press Club.
Now, those of you
who have attended the Penn State
Forum here on the University
Park campus might be familiar
with this.
You should have received a card
or two when you walked
in this evening.
We asked that if you have
questions to ask our panelist
that you will fill out that card
and then pass it to the aisle,
and we-- wave the person
on the end of the aisle,
you've got a job tonight,
it will be to wave that card
in the air and our volunteers
will circulate,
they will collect the cards
and then bring them forward.
Each of our panelists have been
given an allotted time to speak.
And then at the end
of tonight's presentations,
as time permits,
we will present the question
and answer period.
Now that we have the ground
rules established,
I would like to introduce the
first of our three panelists.
Jay Paterno,
Jay spent 22 seasons coaching
college football including 17
years on the Penn State staff.
In 2008, named him one
of the country's best
offensive coordinators.
And in 2011, named him the Big
Ten's Best Quarterbacks Coach.
At Penn State,
Paterno coached three all Big
Ten quarterbacks
and two Big Ten MVPs.
In his ninth season
as recruiting coordinator,
Penn State earned eight top 20
national recruiting rankings
with two national number
one rankings.
Off the field,
Jay has been involved
with the Centre County Youth
Services Bureau and has served
on the Boards
of the Central Pennsylvania
National MS Society
in the Mount
Nittany Conservancy.
In 2008, he worked
on the Obama Presidential
Campaign as a Surrogate Speaker
making appearances
around the state
and he campaigned
with Vice President Joe Biden
in 2010.
Jay is a Columnist
and has written pieces
for the Daily Collegian,
USA Today, The Penn Stater,
Sky News in London,
and the Centre Daily Times.
His columns have been cited
or reprinted
by Sports Illustrated, ESPN,
the NCAA, and translated
into Chinese
for the Epoch Times.
He was named
to the 2011 Sports Illustrated
Twitter 100 recognizing the
world's best sports tweeters.
You could tweet tonight [laughs]
if you'd like.
Jay has also lectures
at university classes
and makes speeches on leadership
and team building
for private industry groups.
Jay Paterno.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you.
It's great to be here
for such a --
an occasion that is
so important.
What I want to say to students,
if you were given a treasure
with amazing value,
incredible power and infused
with the force of centuries
of struggle,
would you just toss it aside?
If I told you that men
and women had fought
and suffered, and even died
to possess such a small slice
of this treasure's power,
would you let it lay dormant
or unused?
That is your challenge.
That is your treasure,
the voice of your vote.
Let's go back to the early days
of American Democracy
into the words
of the Declaration
of Independence which said,
"We hold these truths
to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed
by their creator
with certain unalienable rights,
that among these are life,
liberty and the pursuit
of happiness."
Famous words indeed.
Perhaps the most famous
in our history.
But let's read
on to the next segment,
"That to secure these rights,
governments are instituted among
men, deriving their just powers
from the consent
of the governed."
"The consent of the governed".
Now when our nation first
started, let me illustrate what
that means as we took a few
timid first steps
into a brave new world
of self-government.
All white men in this room
that own land please raise
your hand.
Okay. To everyone else,
if you lived
in those early days,
you could not vote.
So the people with their hands
up represented the consent
of the governed and what
that meant then.
Across the centuries, men fought
and died in Civil War
for freedom and ultimately,
the right to vote.
Jim Crow laws
and poll taxes took
that right away.
Susan B. Anthony spearheaded a
movement for women's voting
rights in 1869.
But it wasn't until 1920
that an Amendment
to the Constitution was ratified
by an upstate
so that women nationwide
could vote.
In 1965, a century
after the Civil War ended,
men and women marched
from Selma,
Alabama to Montgomery
to grasp the reins
of their rights to vote.
A right given them in theory,
but denied them in reality.
Across the South, men and women,
blacks and whites,
withstood clubs, fire hoses
and attack dogs,
all trying to stand
up for the right to vote.
The right to vote cost
Revolutionary War soldiers their
lives on fields
across the 13 colonies.
Cost the lives of hundreds
of thousands of men
in the Civil War.
In the Civil Rights Movement,
it left many bruised, beaten,
battered, and bloody.
It caused Martin Luther King Jr.
and many other leaders
their lives.
All to bequeath a right to you,
a right you have to vote,
a treasure.
Look around the world.
Look at people fighting
and dying in Syria,
and you see how much they value
a right that you already have
in your hands.
Look at other nations
where voters face threats
and intimidation,
yet still participate
in their elections.
It is a treasure.
When you line
up at your polling place,
on Election Day,
your vote is no less valuable
than the President
of the United States,
the Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court,
or the Head
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In the eyes of the law,
on voting day, we are all equal
with an equal say
and an equal voice.
So stand next
to a multimillionaire or someone
who has no money,
there is no monetary value
attached to your vote.
In the voting booth,
we find our most cherished
founding belief
that all men are created equal.
It is an amazing gift,
but it only has value
if you use it.
Elections matter.
It is how we grant the power
to govern, the consent
of the governed.
your chance to either grant
or withdraw your consent comes
only in the voting booth
in America.
If you choose to turn
from the power,
you relinquished your claim
to the outcomes of government.
If you don't think elections
matter, think
about all the hurdles
that have been thrown
up by the new Pennsylvania voter
ID law, an idea favored
by a Legislature
and a Governor elected
by the people of the state
in 2010, the people who turned
out consent of the governed.
There are issues
that will impact your life now
and issues that will impact it
decades from now.
healthcare, Social Security,
tax policy,
the war in Afghanistan, jobs,
the economy, energy policy,
foreign policy,
and the fundamental philosophy
of the role of government
in our society.
Many of you will graduate
in the next year or two.
When you go to grad school
or get an internship
under current law,
you can go on your parent's
health insurance.
The outcome
of this election may
change that.
Maybe you agree with that idea.
Maybe you don't.
But if you don't vote,
they will govern
without your consent.
Years from now, Medicare,
Medicaid and Social Security
maybe different, maybe not.
You may think it is not
important now.
But years from now,
you want to look back
and wish you had voted.
How should we react
to Iran's attempt
to attain nuclear weapons?
There is a distinct choice
in foreign policy goals
of the candidates
in which ever way you fall
on the issue,
and I cast no judgment,
which ever way you fall
on that issue, you must vote,
or the winner
of the election again will
govern without your consent.
Everyone focuses
on the Presidential Election
and rightly so.
But there are also issues
in other races
and those elections matter too.
There's a Congressional race,
a Senate race.
We have a statewide Attorney
General's race
that all Penn Staters should
closely follow.
We have learned the importance
of that office
in a very real way
over the past year.
In 2008, the nation looked
at a map of Pennsylvania,
and amid all the election
results, there was Centre County
in the middle.
It stood out from the
surrounding counties
in this respect, voter turnout.
At the hub,
here in this building
where 11,000 students were
registered to vote,
8,000 showed up.
I know, because I was here.
And I know because I
was inspired.
For years, politicians could
ignore voters
and pay special attention
to older voters.
Why? Because their perception
was that young people were
apathetic and didn't vote.
Four years ago,
that myth was shattered.
The question now is will you
keep that up.
The question is, now,
will you continue
to keep the voter turnout
of Penn State strong?
If you look at some
of the things that have happened
for young people
from this government since 2008,
there's a definite focus
on issues, student loans,
Pell Grants, healthcare,
education for people your age.
The votes of college students
across the country command a
respect and produce results.
The results of the power
to influence government policy
by voting and voting in numbers.
One of the great challenges
in life is at the age of 18,
or 20, or 22, to try and look
at the decisions you make
and the actions in your life now
that will impact your life
when your 40, or 50, or 60.
When you choose to vote,
you will never regret taking a
step to voice your consent
or withdraw your consent
from those who will govern you.
Rest assured,
the results
of the past few elections have
altered the course of this state
and this country.
Whether you like those results
or not, only
by voting can you impact the
future course of this country.
The election is less
than six weeks away.
It will be here before you
know it.
The deadline to register is less
than two weeks away.
That date is October 9th.
There are people
who can help you here and people
that will be around campus
over the next two weeks
to help you register.
Thomas Jefferson once said,
"If a nation expects
to be ignorant and free
in a state of civilization,
it expects what never was
and never will be."
Get educated on the issues
that matter to you.
Get registered.
Think about your decision.
And then show up and vote.
It is a mighty gift to passed
down to you over the ages.
A gift that is in your hands.
Use it and get your friends
to use it.
Don't look back and say,
"I wish I had."
Thank you very much.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you very much Jay.
Our next speaker whom will also
be familiar
to Penn State sports fans.
Coquese Washington was
introduced as the 5th Head Coach
of the Penn State Women's
Basketball Program
in April 2007.
Coquese is the first female
African-American Head Coach
in Penn State's history.
In her fifth season,
she returned the Lady Lions
to Big Ten prominence
as she guided Penn State
to the Big Ten regular season
title with a 13-3 record
in conference play.
the Lady Lions advanced
to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet
16 with wins over the University
of Texas, El Paso and LSU,
en route to a 26
to 7 overall record.
The Lady Lions were ranked
throughout the season
and finished 9th
in the ESPN/USA Today
Coaches Poll.
For her efforts
in rebuilding the Penn State
program, Coquese was honored
as the 2012 Big Ten Coach
of the Year.
Coquese was a four-year starting
point guard for Notre Dame
and the Team Captain
on Notre Dame's first ever NCAA
tournament team.
The epitome
of a student athlete,
Coquese graduated
from Notre Dame in 1992,
a full year ahead of schedule
with a Bachelor's Degree
in History.
She went on to attain Double
Domer Status in 1997
after earning her Juris
Doctorate from the Notre Dame
Law School.
This is someone
who can make her case on
and in court.
May I present
Coquese Washington.
[ Applause ]
>> Good evening everyone.
Man, that light is bright,
right in my face, but, you know,
Jay's remarks were really
passionate and inspiring.
And I'm not going to, you know,
replicate and repeat everything
he said.
But what I would
like to share briefly with you
on my time here is I'd
like to talk to you
about my father.
And my father is the man
who they declared
to be why it's important
to vote.
I grew up at Flint,
Michigan in the '70s and,
you know, I had a pretty --
from me, in my opinion,
I had a pretty cool childhood
and got to do a lot of things.
My father grew
up in Mobile, Alabama.
And every summer,
we would go down
and visit my grandmother.
And I had aunts, and uncles,
and cousins, a lot of family
that still lived in Mobile.
And every summer,
we would go down and, you know,
hangout with my grandmother,
and, you know, I have to go
to bed at 6 o'clock and,
you know, wake
up to gospel music at 8 o'clock
in the morning in the summer.
So it was a typical southern two
weeks every summer.
And one particular summer we
went down there
and I think I was
at fifth grade,
I was going into fifth grade,
and my Dad grew
up with Hank Aaron [phonetic].
They all grew
up in the same neighborhood.
So my Dad played baseball
on the same high school team
and he grew
up with the Aaron family.
So, you know,
every summer we would go
down and, you know,
we would drive by the --
drive by the field
where they played baseball.
And, you know, he would say,
"That's where, you know,
me and Hank Aaron
and his brothers
played baseball."
And I was like, "Yeah, yeah Dad.
You were a great baseball
player, I know."
And one -- this particular
summer, after, you know,
we went by the baseball fields,
you know, we went
by these pools,
some public pools.
And my Dad pulled over
and he said,
"You see these pools?"
A bunch of kids were
in there playing.
We're like, "Yeah."
He said, "When I was growing up,
I couldn't swim in those pools."
And I was like, "Well why not?"
He said, "Black people weren't
allowed to swim in those pools."
I said, "Well,
where'd you swim?"
"We had to go on the woods
and find a creek or a pond
or something to swim in
but we weren't allowed to swim
in those pools."
And I was like, "Man," you know,
because that wasn't my
experience growing up.
Then we drove some more
and we drove downtown
and we stopped by the Woolworth
and there were water fountains
on the outside.
And he said, "Coquese,
when I was growing up,
I couldn't drink
at that water fountain
because it had a sign over it
that said whites only.
And I could only drink
at the water fountain
down on the other end
that said 'colored'."
And I was like, "Man, that's,
you know, that's pretty
messed up."
And then he took us
to another --
little farther down downtown
to another restaurant.
And he said,
"You see this restaurant,"
there's like a lot
of people going in and out.
He said, "I couldn't eat
in this restaurant
because I was black."
And that was the first time
for me that I understood what
I'd been studying
about in school.
And he talked to us,
me and my brother,
he talked to us about how he,
in the '50s and '60s,
he and his friends
and his family and his brothers,
they "sat in"
at that very same Woolworth
for equality and they marched
in Alabama for equality.
And at that time, you know,
there was a lot of stuff
for TV about, you know, the '60s
and how violent it was and,
you know, I was asking.
I was like, "Dad so, you know,
did you get hosed down?
Did you get attacked by dogs?"
And he said, "No.
In Mobile, the protests weren't
as violent as they were
in Selma.
They weren't as violent
as they were in Birmingham."
But he had relatives
and he said,
"My cousins in Birmingham,
my cousins in Selma absolutely
had to deal with that stuff."
So for me, that was the first
lesson in what voting means
because my father went
on to tell me that we changed,
we changed our society
because we understood.
There were two things
that needed to happen.
We needed to have access
to equal education and we needed
to be able to exercise the right
to vote.
Without those two things,
things were not going to change.
So I vote because of my father.
I vote because of my uncles
and because of my cousins.
And because of all
that they went
through to allow me
to have the opportunity to be
on this stage right now
and to be able to be raised
where I could swim at any pool
that I wanted to and I could go
into restaurant that I wanted to
and sit down and eat
and I could go
to any water fountain
that I wanted to
and have a drink.
And I could be the Head Coach
of the Penn State Lady Lion
Basketball team.
[ Applause ]
He made it crystal clear for me
that voting changes things
and your vote matters.
And he would always say to me,
"Coquese, one vote makes
a difference.
Your vote can change anything."
So, as Jay said, there's a lot
of reasons and a lot of history
to why voting is important.
But the past is simply a bridge
to the present.
And we are here where we are,
and all of you are fortunate
to be in this position
because of other's sacrifice.
And it's important
that we respect that sacrifice.
And it's important
that we honor those sacrifices
by going out and participating
in the most important political
event that we can participate
in, and that's' the right
to vote.
So I encourage you all
to register,
vote and participate
and honor all the people
who sacrificed
to give us the opportunity
to live in what I think is the
greatest country in the world.
It's that important.
So make sure you do it.
My dad would be proud
if you did.
Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you very much Coquese.
Before I introduce our final
speaker, a reminder
about questions and cards.
Please be thinking
about questions that you'd
like to ask our panelists,
then pass them
to the center aisle
or to the far aisle
and the people on the end,
please wave them in the air
and our volunteers will pick
them up and bring them forward.
Our final speaker tonight is
David Brinker, a PhD student
in the Department
of Communication Arts
and Sciences in the College
of the Liberal Arts.
He's actually filling
in for a professor
and we appreciate him stepping
in and in Dr. Gastil's absence
this evening due
to a family emergency.
David completed his MA degree
at Marquette University
where he was recognized upon
graduation with the Dean's Award
for Graduate Excellence.
His thesis looked at how people
from different cultural
backgrounds vary
in what they value
about public deliberation.
This interest
in the social scientific study
of deliberation led him
to Penn State
where he has assumed the role
of Co-Principal Investigator
for a grant funded evaluation
of an innovative citizen
discourse program called Face
the Facts.
Please welcome David Brinker.
[ Applause ]
>> Okay. Good evening
and thank you very much
for that introduction.
Oh, can we - -I mean,
there is someone --
yeah, there we go [laughs],
someone to make this work.
I am representing, in part,
John Gastil who couldn't be
with us but our thoughts
and our prayers are certainly
with him.
He notified me
that he'd be leaving town
at about 6 this morning.
So, I'm filling
in on somewhat short notice
but I will do my best.
And if we can pull this up.
John has a flair
for provocative titles.
I'm not sure whether you'll find
-- this to be quite
this provocative.
I want to start by thanking you
for coming.
And not just coming as bodies
in the chairs but for coming
as citizens,
people who are concerned
with politics.
This is an important thing to me
and to anyone coming
from the social scientific
perspective of studying,
In particular, it strikes me
that in social science,
we have this item, this measure
that we use in surveys.
It's just called political
interest and it's what you'd
think it is.
It's a 1 to 5 or 1 to 7 scale
that just asks how interested
are you in politics
and civic life.
This item is a blessing
for social scientists
because it produces quite a bit
of variance.
That is, you get quite a bit
of people who are
at the high-end of this scale
and say, "I'm very interested
in politics.
Politics are great,
count me in."
We also see quite a few people
who are very low on this scale,
"Politics aren't for me.
Civics, not really my thing."
To a social scientist,
this is great.
But as citizens,
this is a little concerning.
I think we can agree
that if we are interested
in our democracy and the health
of our democracy,
we should also hope that people,
in general, are interested
in being citizens
of the democracy.
And yet, to those
who are skeptical of politics,
you're justified
in your skepticism.
We have a term
for this it's called
"rational ignorance", right?
It's the idea that the cost
of being a politically active
person is too high, right?
This is thinking like people
who think, "My vote doesn't
really count.
Politicians are dishonest,
and I want get the truth
from them.
If I become politically active,
I'll just be sucked
into arguments with my friends
and my families
and that cost is too high."
I hope that the two
presentations before me
and this presentation will help
make the case
for why we should be engaged
as citizens.
And I want to do this
by making two basic points.
First, that our differences are
not as deep
as we might think they are.
And particularly,
that partisanship is not an
impenetrable barrier.
And second,
and then a related point,
that it's realistic to believe
in civility.
This is kind of a hard sell.
You look around at,
not only the mass media,
but if you are an attendee
of local political events,
you see, anecdotally,
times when civility does not
seem to be the priority.
So I hope to layout
for you are a little bit
of realistic empirical evidence
that civility can happen.
And finally, as a broader point,
I hope to convey the idea
that bipartisanship is not just
something we should call
for in our legislatures.
It's something
that we should strive
to make part of our job
as citizens, part of the work
that we do as citizens.
It should be
with a mind towards crossing
party lines,
leaving our ideological
comfort zones.
So I'd like to start with kind
of a conceptualization
of deliberative incivility.
What do we mean incivil?
We'll start with the point
that incivility is not a
new thing.
It is in fact a familiar thing
to the American
political system.
This is a cartoon
from 1884 depicting Grover
Cleveland, sometimes called
"Grover the Good".
After it was revealed
that he was involved
in a scandal
in which he fathered a child
out of wedlock.
Now when this information became
public, the supporters
of James Blaine, who was running
against Cleveland, began a chant
at rallies saying, "Ma, ma,
where is my pa?"
And in rebuttal
after Cleveland had taken the
White House.
Cleveland supporters said,
"Gone to the White House,
ha ha ha."
Clearly, incivility is not a
new thing.
It's also worth mentioning the
close elections aren't a
new thing.
That election was won
by a margin of 48.5 percent
of the popular vote
to 48.2 percent
of the popular vote.
Also, not new news is the
geographic divide
in our country.
We have been there before.
So I want to start by laying
out a case for deliberative
civility or really is a set
of standards
for deliberative civility.
These are pointed support
of vision of light at the end
of the political tunnel
of bad behavior.
But they also create quite the
burden of proof, right?
They seem rather idealistic.
And John is certainly aware
of that and I'm aware of that.
And so, I hope
that we can accomplish kind
of an addressing that.
But first, let's layout what do
we mean by civil deliberation.
First, we talk
about appreciating the idea
that there are professionals,
people with practical knowledge,
people with experiential
knowledge, all knowledges should
be subject to the
public critique.
But this should be embraced
as the seminal components
of discourse, right?
If we make this kind
of useful knowledge,
the foundation of our discourse,
we will have a stronger
discourse compared
to starting discourses
with ideological
or political grounds.
Second, refraining
from manipulative,
blatantly illogical,
knowingly inaccurate arguments.
Not so much because it's bad,
to say things
that are
intentionally manipulative.
But because we should be able
to trust that the discourse we
engage in is a
productive enterprise.
Thirdly, the idea
that we listen carefully,
and this is kind
of sloppy phrasing,
but that we consider diverse
view points with respect
to points one and two.
And to me, I'm not
in Dr. Gastil's head,
but to me what this means is
that rejecting a perspective
requires more than the mere fact
that you subscribe
to the opposite perspective.
And finally,
respect for persons, right?
An affirmation of the value
of all the persons in a society.
And again, not so much
because of the inherent goodness
of people but because of a sense
that we're all in it together,
that we have a network
of relationships and we're bound
by our citizenship together.
So we have a framework
for incivility.
What -- why does
incivility happen?
And we start our model
of incivility
with the general public,
not because the general public
is necessarily the genesis
of instability
but it is our focal point.
It's the point
that we're concerned with.
The general public provides a
certain appetite for conflict
and negativity.
And, for media entities,
this is not a bad thing
because it contributes
to audience segmentation, right,
which is a desirable thing
for a media corporation.
The net result is that we end
up celebrating partisan
extremes, right?
The gasps and the moments
of tension.
And we kind
of relegate the boring
cooperation stuff
to C-SPAN, right?
At the same time, we have a set
of election laws,
laws and customs.
The law component
that is referred to here tends
to relate to campaign finance,
right, which encourages the
of strong ideological groups.
The custom portion is the
two-party system.
The idea that when we have a
two-party system,
we have no a la carte option
for expressing our views
about policy opinions.
And instead,
we gravitate towards parties
to do that for us.
The combined result is a
partisan political divide.
And the result of this divide is
that the nature of elections
and of people who run
for office tends to be guided
by this partisan idea,
because those candidates
who are able to capitalize
on things like mobilizing the
base, right, the party base,
or who are able to think
in terms of capturing key
battleground states
and in fact key districts,
these are the kinds of people
who are rewarded.
The general public sees that
and assumes
that this is the order
of things.
This is how politics works.
Oh, I'm sorry.
So John was good enough
to give me a little video
on how this incivility manifests
in our political discourse.
I will note here
that there's some profane
language because it's a video
on political discourse
so be warned.
>> The reforms--
[Background Music],
the reforms I am proposing would
not apply to those
who are here illegally.
[ Music ]
>> Okay, so one
of my medications is 389 dollars
every two weeks.
>> [ Inaudible Remarks ]
>> And I'm afraid I might not be
able to afford my property taxes
and I'll lose my home.
>> [ Inaudible Remarkss ]
>> Please hear this voice
of the disabled.
>> [ Inaudible Remarks ]
>> Don't let the insurance lobby
win this fight.
>> So get over it?
>> Get over it.
>> Get over it.
>> How much is that --
[ Multiple Speakers ]
>> Oh yeah.
>> Really, get over it.
>> I guarantee she didn't pay
50,000 dollars in taxes.
[ Multiple Speakers ]
>> [Background Music] It doesn't
matter when I pay.
I pay -- I pay taxes.
That's the --
that's the problem.
Everyone keeps worrying
about what so and so paid.
What so--
[ Multiple Speakers ]
>> [Background Music] You know,
you again.
Identify yourself
and the way you think
as another obstacle all the rest
of us face for our freedom.
You're just a glittering jewel
of colossal ignorance.
You're an arrogant snob.
An arrogant, full-fledged snob
and you don't know 10 percent
of what you think you know,
because you've been
by a faulty education system
or whatever it is.
But, people like you,
you're just part
of the pack we're going to have
to run over.
You're just part
of the pack we're going to look
at and smile
in the rear-view mirror
in November 2012.
Take care Kevin,
have a great day.
>> Suicide is rampant
in this family.
And given his alcoholism
and his tendencies towards
I am only hoping
that when Glenn Beck does put a
gun to his head
and pull the trigger that it's
on television.
>> So this is fine anecdotal
evidence of incivility.
But do we have data
to back it up?
In a sense we do.
This is a chart
where the Y-axis
represents perceptions.
Perceptions by people
in Congressional Districts
about the political orientation
of their Congressional
Representative on, you know,
just a basic liberally
conservative ideology scale.
Along the X-axis is a composite
item that reflects
that person's actual voting
record having to do
with more liberal
or more conservative
voting behavior.
And we see that these cluster
rather nicely
as we would expect.
What doesn't quite match
up with this is how this
perception of strong left
and strong right pans
out in the general population.
This is the weaker
of two slides.
So this first slide could be
argued to mean two things.
It could be argued to mean
that there are fewer Liberals
than Conservatives
in the United States,
or it could mean
that more Liberals are inclined
to call themselves Moderates
than Conservatives.
But within parties,
we see that Democrats don't
really like to identify
as far left.
You look at this breakdown
and 65 percent
of Republicans have no problem
calling themselves Conservative
or very Conservative.
And yet it's a much smaller
proportion of Democrats who want
to strongly identify
with a left philosophy.
And we see here again
that overtime,
we've grown more partisan,
So these are --
the colored lines are best fit
lines that suggested
over the past few decades,
people have grown more inclined
or more willing
to identify further --
to a further extreme
on the political ideology chart.
This is not necessarily an
inherent problem
because Republicans
and Democrats seem
to do this more or less equally.
But it's a problem when we talk
about how voters perceive other
voters and other voting groups.
So this is --
really, if you're a data person
and a graph person,
this is a very cool study
that Pyu [phonetic] did
which asked voters
in particular groups
to categorize themselves
and then categorize the
other parties.
Categorize the Democratic Party,
Republican Party
on a fairly simple like 1
to 7 political ideology chart.
And we get some pretty
predictable baselines.
And it turns
out that Independents are pretty
good at matching
up to this overall expectation.
What's interesting is what
happens when Democrats
and Republicans start charting
the other groups.
You see here
that Democrats place themselves
considerably closer to moderate
than the general population
places the Democratic Party.
The Republican,
members of the Republican Party
tend to place the Democratic
Party way out in left field
in terms of what they think
that they should lie.
Now, this is a conversation
about deliberation.
So at some point,
we have to talk about discourse.
How does this manifest
in discourse?
And we can see
that there are the civility
violations from both the left
and the right.
They kind of match
up to our categories
of deliberate incivility.
People on the right
for example accuse those
on the left
of an anti-economic basis,
This violates our appreciation
of information.
They say, "Why should we
subordinate economic knowledge
to social knowledge
or to other forms of knowledge?"
Those on the left accuse those
on the right of the kind
of anti-intellectualism, right?
Why should Joe the plumber be
more credible
than a Harvard economist?
And as we go down to the list,
I'll just talk about this kind
of bottom category for a time,
respect for person is violated,
Those on the right say
that those on the left are
claiming the moral high ground.
They portray themselves as kind
of the moral party whereas the
Republicans are the
cold meanies.
And the people
on the left accuse people
on the right
of religious intolerance, right?
Why should Christianity be our
default religious assumption?
So the question for us is,
is this incivility intractable?
Is this just the way
that things are?
And this is
where Dr. Gastil's work
over the past several years
comes into play.
He's been involved
with a program called the Oregon
Citizens Initiative Review.
And to understand this,
I'll need to give you a little
bit of background
on what is called the
Oregon System.
In the Oregon System,
initiatives can be proposed
by any citizen, right?
Any voter in Oregon can propose
something for the ballot.
All they need to get a measure
on the ballot is six percent
of voter's signatures, right?
Six percent
of the population has
to sign off on it.
This is a good thing
from a direct
democracy prospective.
People are able
to circumvent the legislature
and go straight to the populous
with things they want
to see passed.
But, there's a problem
of information.
Generally speaking,
all voters get
for these referendums
or for these ballot items is a
pro-argument, in paragraph form,
a con-argument,
and then a little bit
of fiscal implications.
This is not, generally speaking,
enough information
to make an informed decision
on whether a ballot item is a
good or a bad idea.
And so in 2009,
the Oregon Legislature
introduced the Citizens'
Initiative Review
and they passed it kind
of on a provisional trial basis.
The CIR is a five day review
process, where randomly selected
but demographically balanced
citizens come together
to deliberate
on particular
initiative measures.
And their purpose, their goal is
to create an
additional statement.
A one-page statement to go
in the voter's guide
to help people decide how
to vote.
So John was good enough
to also provide me
with a little video on how
that process works.
[ Pause ]
>> [Background Music] Test
of this innovative idea.
Panels of randomly selected
voters, demographically balanced
to reflect the entire state
electorate met over five days
to review a measure
on the ballot.
>> Through the process,
I never knew
who was a Republican
or who was a Democrat.
>> We had all ages,
all educational levels.
Everyone was committed
to the process in contributed
in powerful and valuable ways.
>> All we deliberated were the
facts and the issues.
>> For each five day review,
a panel directly questions the
campaign's for
and against the ballot measure.
Heard from background experts.
And then deliberated together
based on the facts.
They issued their findings
to every voter in the state
through a prominent new page
in the statewide
voter's pamphlet.
>> Video now.
Oh it would be nice
if we had the remainder.
But I can just tell you
without slides I suppose.
So we're talking
about specifically the results
from one of these CIR panels
who deliberated on Measure 73.
Measure 73 was introduced
to extend the minimum sentences
for certain repeat criminals,
namely, sex crimes
and drank driving incidences.
And most people accepted this
without too many questions.
This seems like a good law
to pass.
But the CIR panel met
for five days to discuss it
and concluded that it was
in fact an overbroad
criminal statute.
And the way they did this was
by asking judges, lawyers,
about the full extent
to which this law might
be applied.
And what they found is
that their own children,
many of the people
on the panel had teen children,
could be prosecuted and held
to sentences
of a 25-year minimum
for sexting,
which as you know is the
of illicit photographs
over text message systems,
25 years for sexting.
This is not something
that had come
out in the pro-con arguments
or in the physical impact study.
This is something
that people found
out by coming together
on a nonpartisan basis
and talking about it
with each other
and really kicking
around the implications.
And I wish I had the image
because this is not really
that impressive
if you can't see it.
But essentially,
before reading the CIR,
or before the election,
or the vote,
John set out to do a little
social scientific experiment.
So he gave three groups.
He asked three groups how they
would vote on Measure 73.
The first group received
to no treatment, right?
They just saw the text
of Measure 73.
The second group got a letter
from the State Attorney's Office
about something unrelated
to Measure 73.
The third group received the pro
and con summaries,
and the fiscal statement.
All of these groups returned
over 65 percent voting "yes"
on Measure 73.
But what happened
when they saw the CIR statement
was that 60 percent of people,
all of a sudden, said "no".
And only --
and less than 40 percent
of people said
that they would vote for it.
This is a radical change
in opinion and, you know,
John very carefully
experimentally manipulated this
to show that it was the result
of reading the CIR.
So my message, right,
though couched
in dry social scientific talk,
is that this is a testament
to the power of people
of diverse backgrounds working
together, blind to ideology,
who can successfully affect a
neutral and credible change
in public opinion.
This is great news for those
of us who want to believe
that civil discourse matters.
So in conclusion,
I want to leave you
with three general ideas.
The first is
that our stiff ideological
divides are more the result
of social and media influences
than they are a bona fide
inability to work with somebody
who doesn't think like you do.
Second, working together towards
a productive end is not just a
pipe dream.
And finally, you may say, "Okay,
that's great."
You set a group of people
down in a room for five days.
And after five days,
they came up with something
that citizens who only looked
at a ballot measure
for a few minutes didn't see.
This is true.
And the lesson we can draw
from it is that civility
requires that we take a personal
for our citizenship.
That we don't define our
citizenship in terms
of party affiliation.
We don't define citizenship
as just casting a ballot.
But we see our citizenship
as work to be done
through our discursive tools
by talking to other people.
And when we think
about citizenship this way,
those rules
for deliberative incivility
that I laid out become less pie
in the sky, right?
And less wishful thinking.
And more frameworks
for using our deliberative tools
to a productive end,
to their full affect.
This is promising not just
for a democracy at large.
But it also gives us the sense
that this kind
of richer discursive citizenship
might also be a productive one.
There might be a point
to engaging in citizenship
and in political talk
and becoming politically active
just -- not just for the sake
of becoming politically active
because it's interesting,
but because it might actually
produce better decisions.
I hope that I've done John
at least some credit.
Thank you very much.
[ Applause ]
>> All right.
Thank you very much David.
We have a number of questions.
We don't have a lot of time,
so I am going to pose
at least one.
We might be able to get two
to our panelists.
Really interesting discussion
that covered everything
from a history lesson,
a civics lesson,
personal passionate statements.
So I want to thank you each
for that.
I think the one question we'll
start with is that,
"how can we best inspire
students who weren't here
tonight to vote?"
>> Oh, okay.
[Laughter] It went on?
Yeah. I think some
of the arguments
that were made tonight
about the future
of the country I think people
have to talk to fellow students
and say, "You either --
you're either in or you're out."
And one thing
about this campus is there is a
tremendous sense of spirit
on this campus,
tremendous sense of unity.
And I think that's one --
is you got to challenge them
as Penn Staters.
Challenge them as people that --
to show people
around the country,
around the world that you
as a student body are engaged.
You as student body are more
intelligent than everybody else
on the planet, which is true.
And also, you want to have a say
which President is
in the White House
when Coquese takes her national
championship team down there
in a couple of years, okay,
[laughter] if not this year,
[Applause] No pressure.
>> Coquese [inaudible]?
>> I agree with Jay and --
but the last part, yeah,
the last part is good.
But in addition to that,
I think making the election
personal and you only have
to find one issue that's
personal to anybody
to get engaged, just one issue.
And there are a lot of issues
that anybody can get passionate
about, you know,
from the economy to, you know,
foreign diplomacy, you know,
to Medicaid, Medicare, you know,
health insu --
I mean there's a ton.
So -- I mean,
if you can just get one person
passionate about one issue
and they're making a decision
on that one issue,
I think that could inspire
people to go out and vote,
having discourse about,
you know, one issue.
>> Okay, thank you.
>> Yeah. No, I would echo
that sentiment
and with a particular emphasis
on the idea
that discourse is
really important.
I think people learn
to dislike politics actively.
I don't buy
that some people are just
inherently more political
than other people.
And I hope -- oh, you can't.
I'm sorry.
Can you hear me now?
>> Yeah.
>> Yeah? Okay.
I don't buy
that some people are just
inherently more political
than other people.
What I do buy is
that in the course
of having political
conversations, people learn
to really dislike talking
to the really gung ho
and politically active people
who maybe are engaging
on these conversations
for the right reasons
but to the wrong ends
and in the wrong style.
So I would encourage the people
in this room to think
of the kind of discussions
that you want to have
with your fellow students
because I really think you can
unlearn disliking politics
if you learn this element
of civility.
>> All right.
Thank you very much.
Some closing comments,
unfortunately, we only had time
for the one question.
There was a great comment
that came forward,
great way to get students more
informed about voting.
Really appreciate it being a
first time voter.
So first time voter out there,
thank you for coming.
And as you leave this hall this
evening, the conversation
doesn't have to stop.
There are actually tables
onto the side,
the Involvement Fair,
we have representatives
of the College Democrats,
the College Republicans,
and the sponsors
of tonight's program, PSU Votes,
they'll be happy to talk
with you and keep the
conversation going.
Again a reminder,
three more remaining forums
of the "What's
at Stake" series coming
up on Monday, October 15th
at 8 o'clock right back here
in Heritage Hall,
will be a discussion
on employment and student aid
with panelist Paul Whitehead,
Professor of Labor Studies
and Employment Relations
at Penn State Law,
and Anna Griswold,
Assistant Vice President
of Undergraduate Education
and the Executive Director
of the Office of Student Aid.
On Monday, October 22nd,
tune in to WPSU
to watch the Presidential Debate
on Foreign Policy
which shall be followed
by a discussion led
by Sociologist Sam Richards,
a Senior Lecturer in the College
of Liberal Arts and Director
of the World
in Conversation Program.
He'll be sitting
down with a group
of Penn State students
to gauge their reactions
to that debate.
And our final segment
of this series will be held
on Monday, October 29th,
the topic will be the
and our presenter will be Dr.
Richard Alley,
the Evan Pugh Professor
of Geosciences in the College
of Earth and Mineral Sciences.
Tonight's discussion will be
rebroadcast on WPSU-FM
on Sunday, October 7th during
the Idea Hour.
And again, special thanks
to the Penn State Glee Club,
WPSU for making this program
available on the web.
And please join me
in thanking our
presenters tonight.
Jay Paterno, Coquese Washington
and David Brinker.
[ Applause ]
And as we wrap up,
we hope you remember what's
at stake when you cast your
ballot on November 6th.
Thank you and good night.
[ Silence ]
[ Background Discussion ]