As the 2008 election season speeds ahead, The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council invited activists, scholars, artists, members of the community to Festival of Democracy: Unleashing Radical Imagination, a gathering designed to launch a conversation about the kind of world we want to build together. Even as the presidential debates enter new territory, with candidates taking part in YouTube and online-only debates, we want to ask: how can we move beyond political platforms and media sound bites to engage in meaningful dialogue?
How can we create a more participatory democracy as we raise and wrestle with local and global issues? How do various issues intersect in ways that provide new insights and directions? How can we make connections between ongoing strugglesthat help us envision a more democratic and just world?
The first panel of the day discussed presidential politics. What does the presidential playing field look like right now and what is the current political landscape? What issues are the candidates talking about, and just as importantly, what aren't they saying? How do we define the historic moment that we're in?
Panelists include: Laura Flanders, host of RadioNation- heard nationally on Air America Radio and non-commercial and public radio stations - and author of Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians; Bill Fletcher, co-founder of the Center for Labor Renewal and member of the editorial board at The Black Commentator; Quentin Young, national coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program and founder of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group; and Barbara Ransby (moderator), Associate Professor of History and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago and co-chair of the Advisory Committee of The Public Square at the IHC.
Recorded Saturday, October 20, 2007 at Experimental Station.