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Civil Political Discourse Is Imperative To A Deliberative Democracy

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After a summer of racial reckoning, two presidential impeachments, a siege laid upon the U.S. Capitol and the impending inauguration of a new administration, conversations about political beliefs are arguably more polarized than ever.

Politics is generally considered an inappropriate topic for conversations at family gatherings or on first dates. In the best-case scenario, it can make for an awkward situation. Worse, things can get volatile with insults hurled and voices raised.

What's at risk if we continue to allow conversations with those we disagree with to devolve into hardened feelings, ruptured social ties or altogether avoidance of discourse with people on the opposite side of the political spectrum? What are the implications for "deliberative democracy"?

Is it possible to have effective conversations about political beliefs when the country is in such a fractured state and if so, what can be done to normalize the practice? How can we improve the civility and productive power of these kinds of discussions?

Guest: Brian F. Harrison, Ph.D., political scientist, lecturer in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and author of "Change is Gonna Come: How to Have Effective Political Conversations in a Divided America"

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, January 19.