How Do We Make Wise Choices?

Several months ago, a group of citizens participating in a class titled “Systems and Citizens’ at MU’s Osher Institute  were discussing many of the difficult issues facing our communities. We discussed how interconnected many of the issues are, and how hard it can be to find a way forward in an atmosphere of extreme partisanship. As the class came to a close, members expressed an interest in continuing to work together and to develop a set of forms that could help us to better evaluate both political candidates (or elected officials) and the policies they propose.  The result was this  citizen’s guide titled “How Do We Make Wise Choices?”  Regardless of your political views, we invite you to download it, use it, discuss it with your friends, and help us to improve it by leaving your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box below.

3 thoughts on “How Do We Make Wise Choices?

  1. The careful review of language is so important. Obviously, politicians sometimes use upsetting language intentionally, but even when they truly mean well, there can be challenges. One part of the community may hear a term as “neutral”, and another part may feel demeaned by that same term, leading to disruption and delays in the dialogue.

    For more on how to detect and manage these kinds of cross-impacts between groups, see section 4.1 (Assess) of Dealing with Disruptors on Kindle: .


  2. The following additional questions to think about and ask were submitted by a reader through email:

    ” I do like to ask for pragmatic examples of how one’s idea has worked elsewhere it’s been tried.
    *Role of gov’t – if government should perform this role, should it be accomplished at the federal, state, local level? Or a combination thereof?

    *Under real world:
    -What are examples of how this policy has been implemented successfully?
    -What are the legitimate trade-offs?

    -Does this policy fit the culture and expectations of the affected constituents?

    -What role do private institutions (business, church, civic, social groups) have related to this policy? Are such institutions not capable of performing this function? How have they failed to do so?

    *Willingness to compromise on policy details?
    -What is a steadfast position, what would you filibuster, what would you compromise on, what are you not concerned about?

    *Transparency – see this mentions where they are coming from and who is funding their campaign. Also ask

    -How do you reconcile your personal beliefs as compared to the collective culture of all constituents?”


  3. Pingback: Pursuing the “American Dream” | The Blog for Building Dialogue

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