Inability to reach consensus has long been at the heart of democracy's dysfunction. For the past decade, Convergence has gained notice for getting people on opposite ideological sides to find agreement on seemingly intractable policy fights. This week, founder Rob Fersh handed the reins to David Eisner, whose bipartisan credentials are hard to top. Before spending six years running Repair the World, the largest Jewish service organization, he created the nonprofit All for Good to support the Obama administration's public service initiative and directed AmeriCorps in the George W. Bush administration. He's also chaired the National Constitution Center and been the executive in charge of AOL Time Warner's philanthropy. His answers have been edited for clarity and length
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Convergence facilitates leaders across sectors and perspectives to overcome the mistrust caused by sharp differences and political polarization, and to collaboratively find new solutions to urgent policy issues, such as education, economic mobility and health care.
Pegoda is a lecturer in women's, gender and sexuality studies, as well as religious studies, at the University of Houston.
At least 40 percent to 90 percent of American voters stay home during elections, evidence that low voter turnout for both national and local elections is a serious problem throughout the United States.
Now that the 2020 campaign is in something close to a state of suspended animation — the novel coronavirus pandemic having taken almost all attention away from the presidential race and forced delays in a dozen states' primaries — directives for people to "get out and vote" have some time to get fired up again.
But if and when outbreak subsides, some people might remain indifferent or simply not care. And many who forgo voting have legitimate reasons.
As life continues to evolve during the coronavirus outbreak, the Bridge Alliance Education Fund has created an online hub where democracy reformers can keep up with the latest news and resources. Its Covid-19 resource packet compiles information from various alliance members to help support the community during the pandemic.
The Bridge Alliance is a coalition of about 100 organizations spanning the ideological spectrum and working to improve aspects of American democracy.
After more than two years of work, the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service has produced 164 recommendations for improving education about how our country works and for encouraging more people to engage in public service.
Most of the attention on the 225-page report released this week, titled "Inspired to Service," has focused on a single recommendation: requiring women to register for the draft the way men have had to for four decades.
What's being missed is how critical the panel views public service in all forms — from joining the military to volunteering at the local food pantry. Also lost is the report's comprehensive overview of where the country stands in civic education and public service and its detailed agenda for improvement.