Threats to Citizenship in a Changing World

(upbeat music) – Welcome back to our afternoon session. This is a panel titled, “Threats to Citizenship
in a Changing World.” We just had a great session, for those of you just joining us live, with Terry Gerton, the President of the National Academy of
Public Administration, Dustin Brown of the Office
of Management and Budget, Sean O’Keefe, a professor
of Public Administration and International Affairs
at the Maxwell School and a much celebrated public servant, and Governor Whitman, the former Governor of New Jersey. In this panel, all of the bios are available both online and in the program before you. Jamie Winders is Chair and
Professor of Geography, and she’ll be both our
moderator and timekeeper. She’s to my immediate right. Next to Jamie is Elizabeth Cohen, a professor of political science. Next to Elizabeth is the
Honorable Steve Hagerty. He’s the CEO of Hagerty Consulting, as well as the new mayor of the city of Evanston in Illinois. And next to Steve is Chris Meek. Chris is a Senior Director of Global Relationship
Management at S&P Global, as well as being the CEO and Founder of Soldier Strong, a
non-profit organization. In this session, one of the things that we’re really gonna
try to understand is that there are many
threats facing citizenship in today’s society, and we’re gonna hear four
very different perspectives, four perspectives that I think are not addressed as often
as we need them to be. And so before we begin, I just want to, again, thank all the staff for their excellent work in putting this together, as well as our team from the Information and Computing Technology,
they’ve done great work today filming and live streaming all of this, and thank you so much for being here. Jamie? – [Jamie] Do you want me
just to go here or up there? – [Dave] You can stay right at the table. – So thanks for coming out. Woo, I’m a little over eager. Maybe I’ll back off of the microphone. Thanks, everyone, for coming out. As Dave mentioned, this session really focuses on thinking about some of the threats to citizenship in a changing world, what some of those might be, and also how we might start
to think and act differently about citizenship in
response to those challenges. So we’re each going to speak for about five to seven minutes, and then we’ll kind of have a dialogue among ourselves, but then what we’re really interested in is opening up the floor and hearing your questions. We took a vote and decided that Elizabeth would go first. (laughs) – [Elizabeth] I wasn’t here for this vote. (panel laughs) – Serves you right. – Elizabeth, take it away. – By the way, an academic
five to seven minutes is actually nine minutes. (laughs) (audience laughs) Thanks so much for coming, and thanks to my
co-panelists for being here. I’m excited about this discussion. I want to talk today about two recent pieces of academic work that I think tell us about how individual Americans think about their own public service as manifest in exercises
in the office of citizen. The first work is an extended essay by an historian, Mark Lilla. It examines how political parties have been attempting to motivate voters to choose in their favor. The second work is a
study of voter behavior by two political scientists, Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels. They examine what motivates voters, not just at the ballot
box but all year long. And seen this way, we have
two different contributions who’ve pictured of how we are thinking about the signature act of citizenship, electoral participation. One looks at individuals. The other looks at institutions, and taken together we get
this complete picture. Last fall, after the final weeks of what was truly an intense
presidential campaign, the Colombian historian, Mark Lilla, published an op-ed in The New York Times. It caused quite a stir. It later became a book. Lilla considers himself a liberal. I think most of us would see him as a quite conservative Democrat, and his argument, very briefly put, is that the Democratic party needs to turn away from what he calls identity liberalism. Identity liberalism relies on appeals to sub-groups, racial minorities, women, foreign-born persons, and so on. And Lilla thinks that identity appeals of the Democratic party advance a kind of
competitive individualism that is antithetical to
the nature of citizenship because it encourages
a focus on difference and trains us off of thinking of ourselves as indivisible parts of a whole. In classical democracy, my political theory moment, in classical democracy, we’re intended to think about what is good for us maybe as a city, not our individual private self-interest, as the Athenian oath exhorts us. Lilla seems to be suggesting that the Democratic party has abandoned Athenian citizenship ideals in favor of narrower,
interest-based appeals. Okay, so that’s one diagnosis of what went wrong with one party. Now I’ll broaden the analysis to talk more generally about what all voters are doing in response, not just to these appeals, but to all political decisions. And here I’m gonna bring
in the second work. A little backstory on voter behavior. For the first part of the 20th century, voting was understood as something that citizens undertake on the basis of what they perceive to be their interests, maybe what they perceive to be the values of the party’s
fielding candidates. That’s not a classical view of how democratic citizenship should work any more than what Lilla describes. But in both cases, very narrow interest take precedent over larger visions of the good. But there was at least a logic to the idea that we each use our little piece of the franchise to communicate to representatives exactly what it is we want or need. It was also believed that the end result would be a politics that played to the median voter, and that that would moderate
our political outcomes, particularly if large numbers
of voters were aggregated, that effect could be really powerful. Beginning in the 1950s, however, questions arose as to how accurate this liberal individualist model of citizenship actually was. First, it appeared that many voters were actually willfully
ill-informed about their choices and the likely outcome of those choices. Second, people seemed not to be able to hold a consistent view over time. They react to information
they received very recently more than they’ll take into account things they heard a while ago. They forget things that happened, it turns out, more than six months ago, and also they just behave
irrationally sometimes. So, they weren’t doing the thing that they were supposed to be doing. Despite opportunities to deliberate, the common formed expressed preferences citizenship as expressed by voters seemed somewhat incoherent. And this might have been okay if we had a system of trusteeship in which representatives
are just supposed to take care of us after we elect them, but we don’t have a system of trusteeship. We actually expect our representatives to do what we tell them to do. We’re not supposed to hand off our responsibilities in that way. So de Tocqueville said, okay, well, we may have a delegate system, but we have mediating institutions like political parties and the press to filter and organize information. He wasn’t entirely wrong. We do have them. What we learned from now recent studies of how people make
decisions when they vote is that they often react emotionally rather than rationally. We’ve seen some evidence of that recently. They kind of wanna go with their gut. Furthermore, their feelings are often not shaped by principles or standards. Their feelings are determined by their own understanding of, now we’re back to the big word, identity. So identity in politics is complicated because politics is competitive, and if we’re voting based on our identity it means every time we have
a political competition we’re pitting our identities
against each other, and that’s dangerous terrain because when people’s
identities are involved in competition they often respond in, shall we say, unproductive ways. So here’s where things get just a little more interesting. It turns out that the identity that we often refer to in politics is not the same identity we might use when we’re meeting people face-to-face. It’s not even the same identity Lilla was criticizing. In politics, our identity is
often our political party. That sounds logical, but I’ll show that it leads to some kind of illogical things or things we wouldn’t expect. It’s so powerful, this identity, that people often come to adopt positions and preferences based on
their party affiliation. So, instead of, for example, deciding I’m for
deficit-conscious policies, so I will vote Republican. Oh, wait. Republicans we elected are
no longer deficit-conscious, so I am not a Republican. Instead of doing that,
right, this is what happens. People say, “I’m a Republican. “Republicans are for
deficit-conscious policies. “Therefore, I must be for
deficit-conscious policies. “Oh, wait, Republicans we elected “are no longer for
deficit-conscious policies. “I am Republican, “so I am no longer for
deficit-conscious policies.” Right, the principle has
left the picture there. From the perspective of citizenship, identity-based politics
are therefore problematic, not because they’re overly individualistic but because they get us
to abandon our principles in favor of emotional attachments. We actually need to be
able to form opinions, or at least trust our parties to give us good information. If a deficit-conscious voter joins the Republican party, that voter or that party owes that voter either fealty to the principle or a very persuasive explanation about why things have changed. So here we are. We wanna talk about how to put together realistic expectations of citizenship with realistic expectations
of our institutions. Lilla says we need a broader appeal, but this other political science research tells us that the big broad appeal we have to political party isn’t really getting us to behave as principled actors. Plus, it’s just not going very well. Nobody’s very happy with where politics are right now. In either case, identity is a problem. And so I just wanna kind of conclude by thinking about what can
we realistically ask for. I don’t think we can realistically expect to re-train citizen brains to learn to process
information differently. People aren’t gonna shed emotions. They’re not gonna magically
have longer memories or start to understand tax policy better. But I do keep wondering if linkage of identity
in competitive elections has to mean that we’re
at war with one another. Now we’re on a college campus, and I’ve brought up identity. This is a pretty loaded term, not just on campuses but
many places in society today. I don’t know that it should be quite as loaded as it is. We all have an identity. Our identities are complicated. They’re made of some very broad traits like Lilla’s describing and some that aren’t universalizable that we’re extremely attached to. It’s a very basic human need to feel that your identity is coherent and recognized by others as such. If you think this isn’t true of yourself, then what’s happened is the
need has been met so well that you simply haven’t perceived it yet. So we all want our identity
to receive respect, and when it does, we’re
better off for that fact. It’s also really satisfying and cathartic to offer respect to another person whose identity is foreign and unfamiliar. When we do so, we share common ground. We feel good about ourselves for behaving in a way that we know
is worthy of respect, and we feel good when we
receive respect in return. We are in that one
moment, I think, equals, and equality is a necessary if not sufficient condition for democratic citizenship. Just one more thing I’ll say. (laughs) As bad a rap as campuses get these days, I think the day-to-day life campus is a really good laboratory
for how to do this. If you ignore what you
hear about what goes on and look at what’s really happening, we’re doing this on a day-to-day basis. So I think this is a
really good training ground for some of the things we want people to be doing in politics. – Now we’ll turn to Steve. – Alright, well, all
this talk about identity brings back lots of thoughts because I am a new mayor
of Evanston, Illinois, which is one of the greatest
urban ring cities in America, incredibly diverse community, socioeconomically, racially, ethnically. We have billionaires
that live in Evanston. We have 40% of the kids
that go to our schools that are on free or reduced lunch. And I’ve been here for
four months in this office. I went through a seven-month campaign for this part-time, $25,000 a year job. I won’t tell you how much I spent on it, but all of Elizabeth’s talk about identity has me thinking to tell
my remarks this way, so I will. I’m Steve Hagerty. If at the end of this you like something that I say or you don’t like something I say, I’m gonna help you
remember who the heck I am, because we walk away from these things and we can never remember, okay, what was that person’s name. So several years ago,
I was with my nephew, and we were in the backyard, and he lives in Kansas City. He was about, I don’t know, 10 years old or so at the time, and there was this other
kid from the neighborhood who was about nine who came over. We ended up throwing the football around in the backyard. About 15 minutes into
throwing the football, the kid looks at me and goes, “Hey,” he goes, “your name’s Steve, “and my name’s Steve.” I said, “Hey, how about that?” I said, “Is yours spelled
with a V or a P-H?” The kid looked at me kind of funny, and said, “Mine’s spelled with an S.” (panelists laugh) So my name is Stephen Hagerty. It is spelled with an S and a P-H. I grew up on a small farm
in a working-class town called Attleboro, Massachusetts
right near Norton, where Governor Christine
Todd Whitman went to college. My parents where middle school teachers. I, you know, we didn’t
have that much money. We would never go out to eat. We had two Ford Pintos, and it was a great
experience to grow up there. I went to the best college
that I could get into, which is right here at
Syracuse University, one of the few that would admit me. Thank you, Syracuse. And I wanted to go into
the public sector, right. Like a lot of people in this room, I applied for all of these jobs. Some of which I was qualified for at the state and the local level, and I didn’t get any of them, and I ended up getting a
job for Pricewaterhouse in their Office of Government Services. I had no idea what
management consulting was, but I liked the idea it was government, and I knew I wanted to work in government. And I developed an expertise at a younger age in the
federal disaster program. And after eight years at Pricewaterhouse, I left, and I went on my own
to start Hagerty Consulting. I didn’t know what Hagerty
Consulting would be. I was just an independent consultant. Hagerty Consulting grew over the years from when I started it to being one of the niche firms around the country that helps communities prepare for and recover from disasters. The current administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency was our executive vice
president just three months ago, Brock Long, who’s getting
fairly good reviews and was bipartisan support… 95-4 confirmed by the Senate. I have found the work that I
have done incredibly rewarding. We get the opportunity, and the federal government
gets the opportunity, and it’s made it a value to help people when they really need the
help of the government. As my company grew and as I got more and more involved in my own community and a lot of nonprofits in my community with the Chamber of
Commerce in my community, I think I’ve always thought
a lot about citizenship and being a good community member and how you become involved. And recently, after a dinner that we actually had here three years ago in the Founders’ Room at Maxwell, I sat there, and I listened to two former, very senior state legislators, with the last name Barkley and Lombardi, speak about how the legislative bodies in the executive branch are not the same as they used to be. Compromise is a bad thing, and they bemoaned the state
that we’re in right now. A couple, maybe five minutes later, Dean Steinberg said to the group, and there were about
twenty of us having dinner. He said, “Why is it that more of our, “graduates of the Maxwell School “are not going into elected office?” And I raise my hand as
one of the younger people on the board, and I said, “Well, “the younger people have eyes and ears, “and they see the dysfunction, “and they think, my gosh, “why would I put myself into that arena? “I care about this country. “I care about my community. How else can I contribute?” And they think about all
of the different ways. I think about citizenship
in a really broad context, but I left that meeting three years ago, and I thought to myself, my gosh. I have had a wonderful life experience from growing up in a blue collar town to parents who were school teachers to starting a company and
to growing that company. I can run from mayor. I can put myself in that arena, and so, I decided to do that. The reason I mentioned that whole story is because I want to talk
about identity politics for one second, when we talk about threats to citizenship, okay? So you’ve heard real
quickly sort of my story. So we had a primary in
the race that I ran for, there were five people in the primary. I almost won the election
outright in the primary, and I was running against
two sitting aldermen, a former township supervisor, and a person, who perenially
runs for office locally. And I got 44% of the vote. Six more points, and I would’ve gotten, I would’ve won the election. I then was in a runoff
with the two-term alderman, and in that runoff, it became a race of identity politics, so I decided, and one of the reasons I ran is I think we need more civility. I think we need more respect. I don’t think we need
to be running campaigns like we do, and I don’t know
how you really break this, but running campaigns like we do, where if you don’t know, the worst crook, the worst criminal in the entire world is Hillary Clinton because if I tell you enough times, “Crooked Hillary, Crooked Hillary.” You start to question. My gosh, this is a
person that lacks ethics. So I decided I wasn’t
gonna run that campaign. I decided I was gonna
run a campaign that says, “Hi, I’m Steve Hagerty. “I grew up on a small farm. “My parents are schoolteachers. “I want you to know where I came from, “and here’s my thoughts
on governing, okay. “I think that people need to
be informed by the government. “People need to be heard. “People need to know there’s
an open and honest process, “and people need government
to make a decision. “And here’s my thoughts
on a few of the issues.” In the general campaign, when it’s just I running
against another person, that’s the story I told. I never said anything about my opponent. I liked my opponent. I always said if I don’t become mayor, I think he should be
the mayor of Evanston. Their campaign was
“Yeah, hi, I’m so and so, “but let me tell you about Steve Hagerty. “Steve Hagerty is a wealthy man. “We have a wealthy man in Washington D.C., “who’s the president of this country. “We have a wealthy man
in Springfield, Illinois, “who’s the governor of Illinois, “a gentleman named Bruce Rauner. “We don’t need wealthy people coming “into our community and running Evanston. “That is not how we do things here. “And by the way, Steve
Hagerty says he cares “about Evanston. “That he’s involved in
all these nonprofits “and everything else. “Steve Hagerty doesn’t even send his kids “to school here in Evanston.” So, in the general election, people thought, “Oh,
based on the primaries, “oh, Steve’s gonna run away with this.” Because I got 44%. I won the election by 115
votes at the end of the day, and that, and you never know. I will tell you, you
never know why you win or you lose an election. I think there’s way too
many variables in this, but at the end of the day, when you look at the voting patterns and everything else in our community, to that part of our community that didn’t know either I or my opponent, that story resonated. I lost that entire part of the community. The other part of the community that knew both of us, it happened to be a sort of affluent part of the community that I ended up winning. So threats to citizenship, I’m just gonna wrap it up with some, and we can talk about
this as we go through. I do think getting wrapped up
in identity politics, okay, is a real threat. We have become so smart
at human psychology and how to manipulate people whether it’s for commercial interests or
potentially elected interests. I think social media has
now created a platform for everyone to think that they can shout as loud as they do. I also think people that
are feeling left behind in this country, okay,
and are very frustrated on the far right. And then I think we have
people on the far left, who also feel very, very frustrated that people aren’t listening to me. And when you feel that people
aren’t listening to you, what do you do? You start to raise your voice and you start to scream and you start to say, “Listen, “I don’t have a job
because they’re all going “to some other country
or because they’re going “to immigrants.” And that’s what you start to do. And you see that both
in any public meetings, and I attend a lot of public meetings now as well as social media. And then lastly, I would just say, I’m very, very concerned about the threat to citizenship by alternative facts. If we as communities and
as a country can’t agree on what the facts are, God save us. I mean, I really, really worry about that, so I’ll leave it at that
for just real quickly a list of threats that I see. And I look forward to this conversation with this esteemed panel up here. – Thank you, Steve. So, Chris? – Good afternoon. My name is Chris Meek,
and I’m a Republican, so therefore, I no longer believe in deficit-reducing policies. (panel laughs) It feels good to say that. I think I’m a token private sector guy. I have a very random
and varied background. Again, a graduate of
this esteemed university, a year behind Steve,
so I’m a year younger. (chuckling) He looks younger, though. Spent 25 years in the
financial services industry. The last seven or eight,
I’ve also founded and run a veteran-focused nonprofit. Left financial services
to run for Congress. I didn’t win so I had to get a day job and go back to financial services. And oddly enough, I’m actually now in the, well, I just finished my first term of the Maxwell’s Executive MPA program, so 25 years later, back on
campus, you know, virtually. There’s a few classmates here, so good to see you guys here. I think one of the, in terms
of the threats to citizenship, two of the daily conversations
on the news that overlap are the widening gap
in economic inequality, as well as economic
competitiveness of this nation. And I think the two overlap. I do think there’s a widening of the gap. You know, Steve talked about the elections and raising your voice. And I see the 2016 presidential election as a referendum on that gap. You know, you had an entire
socioeconomic class that says, “I’ve been left behind
the last eight years, “I’m gonna be heard.” And they were heard. And so obviously, we’re
still trying to figure out what’s gonna happen next. There is obviously a lot
of dysfunction going on, and that is a big fear. It’s always a fear, but
I think more than ever, that’s a fear out there. But I believe that
economic competitiveness is something that leads
to financial security, and that’s something that we need to focus on here as a country. I stated my political beliefs earlier, but economic competitiveness, I think, is not driven out of Washington. We need things, it’s actually
impeded by Washington. We need to have tax reform, we need to have regulatory reform. Things need to be streamlined. We have to have actual facts, so we know what we’re streamlining
and what we’re reforming. I think the biggest
takeaway from my first class I just finished, and
actually Professor Nabatchi who was here earlier today,
she was my professor. The biggest takeaway from that class I got that was on democracy and
public administration was, her favorite phrase was, it depends. And it’s a great way to
kind of get out of what the real answer is, but it does depend. You know, we need
government, but we also need the private sector to drive competition, to drive financial security. Now, should government
be run like a business? I wrote a paper defending that. But, in times of crisis,
Steve’s business does it. Unfortunately, we’ve seen it recently with the tragic hurricanes down south. The first thing people do is
they turn to their government, they look to their government for help. And so, there is a place
for both at the table. It needs to be a 50/50 place. But someone always seems to be tweeting or grabbing social media, and
trying to have their voice louder than the other one. So I guess overall, in terms
of threats to citizenship, we do need both parties,
but it’s always gonna, you know, it depends. – Excellent, thank you, Chris. So my name’s Jamie Winders. I’m gonna try to hold
myself to the same time that I held other people to. So I’m the chair of the
geography department, and I just wanna thank the
deans for the invitation to be part of this panel. I think some of the other
panelists read my notes before they spoke, so we’re
gonna have some repeating, but I think that’s important, because it sort of starts to identify some of these key threats. Most of my work focuses on immigration, and especially the politics of immigration and the politics of immigrant settlement, and citizenship and
debates about citizenship really sit at the center. So I just wanna make sort
of three quick observations about the effects of
changing public opinions and also policies vis-a-vis immigration. And the first builds on what
Elizabeth mentioned briefly, the idea that we behave
irrationally as beings. And we often see this
in immigrant reception. And public policies and public
opinion about immigration are rarely static, they
change very quickly. Anti-immigrant sentiment
has been kind of a constant throughout U.S. history
and American social and political life, but so has change. So if we look at, I do a lot of research in the context of the American South, and if you look at the 10-year
period from 2002 to 2012, when I started studying that region and the politics of
immigrant settlement there, I was talking about a new
form of Southern hospitality. By 2005, we started to see
very strong anti-immigrant state and local policy. So within a few years, there
was this huge sea change. In 2012, a lot of Southern
states were sort of at the leading edge of
very restrictive policies. Most of those got held up in the courts. By the next year, there was
sort of a sense of acceptance. So in a 10-year period, we
see these massive sea changes in public opinion. If we think about this
at the national scale, it’s kind of hard to remember, but right after the 2012 election, a lot of conservative
pundits publicly said they’d had a change of
heart around immigration. In early 2013, there was hope for comprehensive immigration reform. That hope had diminished by fall 2013. Summer 2014 saw the arrival
of unaccompanied minors from Central America that
changed the tone again. But the overall numbers coming
across the southern border were dropping. Trump enters the race in 2015, making immigration a huge issue again. And now we’re in a context
with very restrictive executive orders. So in a five-year period, we’ve gone from sea changes
in political attitudes toward immigration to the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform to very restrictive executive orders. The second thing I would
say, and this really echoes what Chris and Steve mentioned, is that public opinion on immigration is often a proxy for
a lot of other things. And so, one of those is that immigration is both the thing that
defines and that challenges American identity, right? So one of the stories
we tell about ourselves is that we’re a nation of immigrants. But one of the other things
we’re also very concerned about are quote hyphenated
Americans, right? So we’re a nation of immigrants, but we have concerns
about people who identify as Mexican-American or Japanese-American. And so conversations about immigration are always conversations
about who we think we are as a people. Conversations about immigration
are also always about race, even when it’s talked
about in the language of cultural difference,
race has always been a central factor in how we
think about immigration. And then finally, again,
as Steve and Chris really pointed out, in
the contemporary moment, immigration has come to
proxy for that feeling of being left behind, that
we often see associated especially with white
working-class communities. In the context of kind of investment in the idea of American individualism, it’s very difficult to say, “I lost my job “because of outsourcing and automation “and a global race to
the bottom in wages.” It’s very easy to say, “I lost my job because of immigrants.” Right, because the first
explanation is really complicated. The second explanation has
a really simple solution. If the problem is immigrants, the solution is restrictive
immigration policy. And so that’s something we’ve really seen of sort of immigration becoming this proxy for that overall feeling
of being left behind. So I’ll end by talking a little bit about the third point, which is, what are the effects of
kind of anti-immigrant public sentiment, or
what we might describe as relatively harsh immigration
politics or policies? And I’m gonna steal from
Tina and say it depends. So on the one hand, the kind
of situation that we see now can really kind of catalyze
immigrant politics and activism. And so, we saw this advocacy around DACA, the Deferred Action Childhood
Arrivals in 2012 and ’13, leading up to it, and
we’ve certainly seen it in response to Trump’s decision to end it. If we think back to 2006,
and a Day Without Immigrants, at a lot of the protests that we saw. But at the same time, the
kind of anti-immigrant sentiment we’re seeing
can also really send immigrant communities underground. And this is something that
we saw in the late 2000s, in Arizona and in Georgia and in Alabama and a lot of states. It’s certainly something we’re seeing now in sort of recent response
to increased ICE raids, to the executive orders. And this sense when
communities go underground they have profound effects
not only on urban governments, on practices of citizenship,
on all of the things that we’re collectively invested in. You know, when immigrants
withdraw from the public sphere, from public participation,
from public service, and from kind of the public itself, when you have fear of interacting
with police or officials, when they’re too scared to be involved in their local schools, that
has real world consequences that don’t only affect
the now, but we know that some of these dynamics
have intergenerational effects. You can see the effects of these dynamics two generations out. So of course, there are these
long-term policy consequences for communities that
feel they can’t be part of public life at the local
or the national level. Now, there’s a silver
lining, but it’s also kind of a double-edged sword. So we know from past social movements that children who watch
their parents face oppression or discrimination are often
galvanized to act as adults. And so we can think about
the civil rights movement, and the things that
motivated leaders there. So I think there’s a lot
of political possibility and hope from the children of immigrants. At the same time, there’s
a real risk, right? So when children born
in places like the U.S., and we’ve certainly
seen this across Europe, see no way that they can
find a sense of belonging or be part of the national fold or be part of national communities, they
always feel they’re excluded, that they don’t belong,
where will they turn to find that sense of belonging? And this isn’t just an issue
in relation to immigration. If we think globally, there
are about 66 million people who are forcibly displaced
from their homes. Half of them are children. So that’s a profound number of children who are growing up
without a sense of place that they can belong to, and again that, we don’t always think about
that in terms of policies, but those kids are going to grow up, and there’s a question about kind of what will their futures be. So I’m gonna stop there, and I thought we, this runs until 3:30, right? So we could talk a
little bit, try to find, we already see quite a
few points of connection. You guys collectively
identified some key threats around identity and identity politics. Steve talked about those
communities in need, both immediate needs and
sort of disaster situations, but also long-term needs. Steve and Chris both talked
about the issue of inequalities and the impacts of inequalities. The issue of alternative facts. And then kind of this widening gap. So I guess, maybe we just throw
ourselves into the deep end, and we think about, so in our corners of the world,
so we have expertise in sort of finance and urban government, nonprofits, academia. What would it take to think
about ways to overcome some of these challenges? And since I asked the question, I came up with the question, so you guys have to do all the answering. (chuckling) – [Steve] Four of us locked
in a room for a couple hours? – I’m happy to start
us off, because I think about this a lot, right, how
do we get people engaged? And during the campaign,
people would say to me, “Steve, we need to figure
out a way to get more people “into the City Council meetings.” Okay, ’cause we get, I don’t know, we can get 100 to 300 people,
depending on the issues. So we need to figure out
how to get more people to the City Council meetings. And the entire time I always said, “No, we need to figure out how to bring “government to the people.” Like I really feel
strongly that it can’t be that government is on
government’s timetable, that you come to us. And so at least thinking
about things that way, what I’m trying to do is say, “Okay, how do we bring
government to the people?” Let’s go to the community
centers or the churches where people are, let’s,
we started this thing as soon as I became mayor
called the Hagerty Huddle. And the Hagerty Huddle
is this thing that we do around town, and we do it under
the banner of civic, okay? So Civic Bites, Civic Beer, Civic Custard, we have coming up, if you wanna come to
Evanston, that’s with a lot of sort of Northwestern
students and millennials. So just add something to
civic, and that’s sort of it. And it’s sort of this Hagerty
Huddle, and that’s what we do. So I’m thinking a lot
about again, how do we get sort of government out
there to the people? So I’ll leave it at that. I have some other ideas,
but we can talk later. – I agree with Steve’s
point, but I also think more than ever, we need
to be engaged ourselves. We need to bring ourselves
to the government. When I ran for Congress,
everyone has their label, right, either there’s an
R or a D after your name. And they kept trying to
label me, like Steve went through that, as well. And I said listen, and this
is during the financial crisis or just after, I said, “We’re a country right
now, no one has an R or D “after their name, they have an A, “’cause we’re all Americans. “And more than ever, we need to come “together for that sense.” And I got engaged because, so financial services industry, I saw the crisis from the front row. And there were a couple days honestly, where I thought that was it, game over. And at the time, obviously, a lot of folks were losing their home to foreclosure. And we were out one
night have a couple beers to blow off some steam, and I said, “Why is it so hard, why
can’t we get the banks “and the homeowners in
the same room together “and let them figure it out?” And someone said, “Chris,
that’s a great idea. “You should go for it, and
actually put something together.” So I literally took a
list of all the banks where I live in Connecticut,
and started calling them. And I wasn’t sure when I called them to say my name is Chris Meek with, insert bank I worked for at the time here, or Chris Meek from Stanford, Connecticut, not knowing what the response would be. Long story short, had a
one-day program where I live at the community center. We had about six or eight banks, a few national, a few regional, and that day 36 families walked out with their loans modified,
and didn’t lose their home. So I thought, okay, great,
mission accomplished, check the box. So that was on a Saturday, the next day, Sunday newspaper above the
fold was the article actually. And on Monday, the reporter
who covered the story, she called me and said, “Chris,
when’s your next event?” And I said, “Elizabeth, what
the hell you talking about? “This is a one-shot deal.” And she said, “Well, I’ve
gotten about 200 phone calls “looking for this.” So I saw the need, found
a short-term solution. Long story short, ended
up having 11 programs throughout the state of Connecticut over the next 12 to 14 months. About the sixth or eighth program, the Governor of Connecticut started having the Department of Banking
start attending our events. And all of a sudden, the
Governor announces that he’s gonna start doing a foreclosure event where he brings banks
and homeowners together. So again, check the
box, he took that over. I guess my long-winded answer here is that we need more engagement by
individuals and households. You know, I’m a father of
three, a taxpayer, a homeowner, and I was looking to use my, I’ll call it expertise
for lack of a better word, to find a solution to
help those who couldn’t. – Can I just add to what you said? I would argue that there’s a
difference between initiative and engagement, and what
you just described, Chris, was about initiative. You seeing a problem and you stepping up and showing leadership. And the only reason I say
that is because I listen to you talk about that,
and I think about the folks that come to our City Hall
or City Council meetings. I had a person during the
campaign that said to me, “Steve, I think I like you, “but how am I gonna know if you’re really “representing the majority?” I said, “Wow, that’s a good question.” So what is the majority? If you’re saying that
the majority of people that come to a City Council meeting and advocate for one
position is the majority, then I don’t think that’s the case, I think that’s why we have elections. And I think that the people that we elect need to properly balance a
bunch of different values, sometimes competing, that
we have as a community. And so, I think that that also creates a level of rising frustration with people, because these are folks who are active, and they show up at the
City Council meeting, and they say, “Mayor and City Council, “you need to” fill in the blank. “You need to gift the mansion that we have “that’s by the lake to this nonprofit “here in the community.” And 50 of them get up there and say that, and ultimately City Council says, “Yeah, we’re not gonna do that, “that doesn’t seem like good government. “If we’re gonna have somebody have it, we’ll do an RFP process for it.” And that leaves them with
a bad taste in their mouth. You told us to get involved in government, we showed up, we’re
here, we’re telling you, and now you’re not doing what we said. And that happens a lot to
people that are really active. – So there’s an interesting
kind of similarity in what you two are talking about, of sort of creating these spaces or opportunities for
engagement between the banks and homeowners, or taking government out into different spaces
within the community, that is we turn to the kind of very sharp identity politics that Elizabeth
has been talking about. I mean, is that a model
that we could say, okay, to use the Republicans and the Democrats, Trump and non-Trump
supporters, let’s put you in a room together and see
if you can work this out. – [Elizabeth] Didn’t Oprah just write a… – It’s called WWE, I think. (chuckling) – Or is there something
different about the kinds of identity politics
that we’re seeing now, that just creating that space
for engagement isn’t enough? – Well, I think one of the, there’s two things that,
oh sorry, is this still on? Yes. – Lean in. – But not too much. (chuckling) Just the right amount,
it’s encouraging posture. So two things that I pull
out of your comments, Chris and Steve, is that we need more
face-to-face interaction. Both of you were describing instances in which we pull from a
larger group of people, a smaller group, to actually be together. And together in ways
that aren’t necessarily about large confrontations. They take defined issues
and try and solve problems one by one. Face-to-face democracy
is really the only kind there was ever supposed
to be, so it makes sense that we think that that is
a really successful model. But I think there’s a
couple things that happen when you do democracy
when you’re face to face. When you’re face to face, you
have to take responsibility in a way that we don’t
when things scale up. Right, it’s easy to not
take responsibility. It’s also the case that
when we’re face to face, we know each other, and
when we know each other, then not only do we understand
each other’s identities, but we tend not to dislike
each other in the ways we can when we’re abstract, distant, when we project imagined
selves onto actual people. So one of the things
that I think we’ve heard after the election, over and over again, is people saying, “I
really supported Trump “and I definitely wanted
him to build the wall “and deport people,
but I didn’t think that “was gonna mean like my neighbor. “My neighbor is a good person, not…” And you realize people have
these imaginary enemies that they wouldn’t be able
to have if we were doing face-to-face democracy
and taking responsibility. One last comment, either of
those, any of these things, either way you describe it,
they both require leadership. And that’s, for me that’s kicking the can into somebody else’s sandbox, ’cause I don’t study leadership, and I don’t know enough about it. But I just keep thinking
over and over again lately, what does it take? When they say great leaders
are born in great moments, we’re in the moment, we need
leaders to do these things. And we thank you for being one. – So I had a question for Chris. So I’m gonna show my ignorance here, but when I think about financial services, and sort of the financial
realm, I think of that as being something that really
works on a global scale, kind of in a contemporary moment. So when you think about
the work that you’re doing, how or why is the idea of
citizenship central to that, if you’re in a realm
that really is kind of these global flows? – I think more than ever,
we are all global citizens. Obviously, email and
social media has been able to allow us to connect within
nanoseconds around the world. And it doesn’t matter where you are, everyone’s facing the
same problems right now. Economic inequality,
education, healthcare, whatever it is, they’re
all the same problems. Everyone’s got different
leaders, different ways of trying to solve it. No one’s got the secret
sauce or the right answer, because there are different
answers and methodologies for each of those and
certainly in each region. But for us to be that global citizen, we have to understand that we
are all facing this together, whatever it is. We did go through it
again during the crisis about seven, eight years ago, we haven’t come out any stronger from it. We have more regulations,
more taxes, more disconnects, more anger at the U.N. And those are real problems. And so I guess maybe to your point in terms of leaders being
born, to your point, this is the moment, we
need people to step up. A lot of people stepped
up for the last election on one side, but then sort of the thumb
your nose at Washington candidate came in, and
that was the referendum, rightly or wrongly. But being a global citizen is imperative to us surviving as a society,
as a globe, as a planet. – So Steve, to kind of
continue on this theme of citizenship, if Chris is
thinking about citizenship at kind of this global scale, when you think about working
for and with the city of Evanston, you have both U.S. citizens, and then you also have
foreign-born residents. So when you think about
citizenship, does it kind of come down to the scale of the city? Or do you think about it
and does it shape your work at the kind of scale of the
nation, of American citizen? – I mean I guess I think about it in
terms of the city, right, and in terms of getting
people more engaged locally. And we have an incredibly
engaged electorate in Evanston. It’s why, where when Barack Obama ran for the United States
Senate, where did he start? Right in Evanston, because
we’ve got 75,000 people there, 45,000 registered, we had 30,000 vote in the presidential
election last November. So this is an incredibly,
incredibly engaged community. It doesn’t mean that there
isn’t division that goes on in that community, division
between some residents and those university students who just come here for four years. Or divisions among all sorts of different categories,
I suppose you could say. So my big thing is to
look at the opportunities that I have to increase inclusion. Okay, so we talk a lot about,
oh, we’re a diverse community. And that’s true, and you
look at all the data, and it would show that. But are we really an inclusive community? And so how do we do that, right? So as mayor, I control
40, 50 different boards and commissions I make
the appointments to. And so one of the things that I’ve found as I’ve become the mayor is, wow, some of these people
have been on these boards and commissions here an awfully
long, awfully long time. I think we need to move people out, and we need to be inviting
and welcoming to other people. I’m really big into that,
not only on everything that’s going on at the national level, and then how that
applies to our community, whether it’s DACA, or refugees or immigration or all of that. So how do we just get more people engaged? And the interesting thing is, when we do these civic, all
these different civic events around town, the folks that come to those aren’t the same folks that
come to the City Council meetings, right, it’s good. And honestly, I haven’t figured it out, but I think about it a lot. There are other people
that are thinking about it. And I’m also trying to
think about how social media can be used in a more positive way. And there are lots of positive
things about social media, wonderful, wonderful things. But it also can be used to divide. So how can it be used to unite, and I don’t know if
anyone’s really figured that out exactly, and I think there’s a real opportunity there. – So that’s a good segue. Elizabeth, you were talking
about the sort of need for, and that fundamental definition
of face-to-face democracy. So, how does social media
kind of shape how that works or doesn’t work, for all the reasons that Steve mentioned? That it has the possibility
to create this sense of community, but it often ends up, we’re in our echo
chambers, or it’s very easy to be very critical of
someone on social media because you can’t see them kind of wince when you say hateful things. – Yeah, I think we’re
now at a tipping point, because we have a growing
cache of knowledge that social media was used
in some pretty nefarious ways during this last election. Regardless of what side
of the fence you’re on, we know that a basic rule
of democratic elections is that if there’s a foreign
body trying to influence them, they’re not being done right. That’s not how it’s supposed to happen. And so, now we’re waiting to see if not only leadership with respect to whether we can keep bots out of our elections, but also, we’re waiting
to see if we’re gonna get some leadership on some of these things that you’ve brought up. And I don’t think anybody knows yet, how do you break an echo
chamber, or how do you turn what is, it’s here to stay, right, this new way we communicate,
how to turn it into something that generates face-to-face
interaction and accountability. Actually, something that
Chris said was making me think of what my social media life is like. I was thinking, when you were saying,
we’re all global citizens, which is something I really believe. I think you’re right, and
I think we don’t recognize that healthcare is a problem,
like bodies are bodies, regardless of what country they’re in, it’s a problem for everybody,
we’re kind of in trouble. But that is terrifying to some people, that idea of we’re all global citizens. And I know this because sometimes I get bigoted comments on
Twitter, and when they come and they’re directed toward my identity, they’ll often refer to
me as a cosmopolitan, right, which is like
code for something else. But it took me a while,
I caught on eventually. And that’s a big slur for them, you know, it didn’t
feel like a slur to me. I was like yeah, sure, whatever. But it would be good to
recognize that both the kind of boundlessness of the world that we see when we’re on social media,
but also the boundlessness of the idea that we’re
all global citizens. That that is really a
problem for some people, and they’re gonna need to be included in a way that’s not threatening. I don’t know what that way is. – Can I, let me be a little
more specific when I say, there’s opportunities out
there in social media. So Governor Whitman, early this morning, talked about some research which is true, about increasing voter turnout based on knowing information
about other people that are in your network. So, oh boy, my neighbor has voted in the last three
elections, and I haven’t. Boy, I better vote. And that research, which
is done by academics and everybody else, is
shown to be really powerful. And so, when you think about social media and think about Facebook, and we talk about the nefarious things that did go on, Facebook also has that tool, right, where you get the badge
that I voted today, and it’s the election. Like those are positive things, I believe, that can be done. – You…
– And some people do connect positive
discussions on there, too. – Indeed. (chuckling) – We should not short-change those people. – Well, you’ve heard a lot from us. And do we have a mic? – [Man] There’s two
mics, one on both sides. – Okay, so we have two
mics, one on both sides. We would love to hear your
questions or your thoughts on this question of
threats to citizenship, but also, how we can overcome them, how we can think about things differently. There’s a mike coming, a long way. (man mumbling) – Wait… – I’m sorry, I’m a little
wary of identifying identity politics as challenges
rather than a solution. And I think the panel has talked, touched on it a little bit. I guess one of the things that I learned in my Maxwell education
is to start every morning with a beginner’s mind and
to challenge my assumptions. And also, my history courses
reinforced earlier in the day the discussions that we’ve
had of the importance of knowing the historical context. And the disservice, I
think, that has been done by the professor at
Columbia, who’s my neighbor, in a sense, in New York, is identity politics
has come out of people that have not had an equal
chance at the American trough. And when they’re come over,
whether they were Russian Jews at the end of the 19th century, whether they were
African-Americans that came against their will, many
people don’t forget. I remember my history course,
the first European language spoken on this continent was
Spanish, it wasn’t English. So what has, he has deemed
as identity politics is very ahistorical, because
what we’re talking about is people who came to this country, some willingly and
unwillingly, for a slice of the great American
dream, and discovered it wasn’t a fair playing field. There were structural problems,
we could call them racism, we can call them
immigrant-phobia and so forth. So that leads me to say is,
I think we do a disservice if we’re alluding in any way to the notion that identity politics is a
problem rather than an asset. – No, I mean I think you’re exactly right. If we look back over history,
identity’s been an immensely powerful thing around which to organize for social movements, to
make arguments for equality. But it’s one of those things
that can work in both ways. And so, we go back to Tina
Nabatchi’s, it depends. Because on the one hand, it’s
been the sort of foundation of all the different forms of activism. But we also increasingly see it mobilize in a contemporary moment
to sort of make claims for mistreatment for groups
for whom the playing field was more level than,
say, for immigrant groups that have come in or
for racialized groups. So the way it’s being used
in the contemporary moment I think is quite complex. But you’re right, no,
it certainly has been deeply powerful over many years. – Yeah, I mean it’s not something
that’s going away, right? Like I said, we all come to
the table with an identity, and we need it to be recognized. And we can see it,
identity will cut both ways when it’s not recognized or
when it’s used against us, when it’s manipulated,
when it’s misunderstood, then it’s a source of problems. It can be a tremendous
source of power, too. People feel stronger when they come together
in an identity group, when they see others like them, when they see that they can be empowered and gain political stature
or social recognition, all of these things. But we can’t ignore the fact that identity is being harnessed to do some really damaging things now, too. It doesn’t have to be that way. – [Sherman] Good afternoon. Sherman Jewett, Executive MPA candidate. Hello, hi, Chris.
– Hoorah. – Hey. We’ve been here all day,
starting with Governor Whitman, and we’ve been talking about
remedies for democracy, how we increase participation, engagement, how we improve our dialogue. And yet every day, we
open, we see the press, and there’s another transgressive action taken against American democracy. Just one data point has stuck with me, and that’s why I’ve internalized this. So in June, the Washington
Post did a poll. 1200 respondents. The Republicans, 52% of Republicans said that they would agree
to postponing the 2020 presidential election if
the President suggested it. That number rose to 56% if it was the President and Congress. So I guess my question for the panel is, have we been talking about
remedies for the common cold or the flu, when our
body politic has cancer? – I would like to say a
few things. (laughter) Okay, just a few. But so, I’ll take your last analogy first, this kind of counterposing of
the common cold versus cancer. And I think here, we could
really use a historian just because, although we’re all
expressing a lot of anxiety, if you look at specific
things that are happening, you can find historical analogs
to many of these things. And that’s not to say that
if you are deeply troubled by glib tweets, or if
you’re deeply troubled by what went on during
the Democratic primary that there’s something wrong
you for being troubled by that, those are troubling things. But we’ve seen them before, and we can look to instances
in which we’ve seen these things in the past to
see kind of what we can expect their trajectory to be. We didn’t have all the
mechanisms for gathering data like really good polls on whether people would postpone the election, but I think we should wanna know why
people would be willing to postpone an election. Do they wanna postpone the
election because they just wanna kind of dismantle the democracy? Do they wanna postpone it
because they’re exhausted and discouraged? Any answer you get to that
question will be an answer that has been stated before,
but if we understand it, we can kind of look to
some of those analogs for some guidance. – I also think, just to
your point about the poll and how the numbers rose. If you look at anytime the Washington Post or New York Times or
anybody has done a poll, and they’ll say what’s your
approval rating for Congress? And they’re in the low teens,
maybe, if they’re lucky. But then at the same time, they’ll say, how’s your Congressman
or Congresswoman doing? And their approval rating
is always over 50%. And so, it’s not my guy or
my gal, it’s everybody else. And so, that is part of the cancer. I think the average term
for a member of Congress stands somewhere around 18 years. I’m not voting for term limits,
but you know, things change. Mindsets change, and
you need new leadership. There are new things going
on, there are new ways to hopefully solve those problems. But the incumbency issue
is a huge, huge problem in us trying to fix those problems. So polls are great on
the surface, but when you turn the page or peel back
the layer of the onion, my guy or my gal’s great,
it’s everybody else that’s the problem. – I mean, there are structural issues, right? Gerrymandering, structural issue. Potentially money in politics that everyone that’s elected
needs money to get reelected. We’ve got segmented media today, 24/7. News station or whatever for any of us to listen to what resonates with us. And the frustration grows,
and it grows on both sides. And so, we had 59 people gunned down, slaughtered Sunday night, right here in this country,
for the umpteenth time that it’s happened. Polls show the vast majority of people would like to have some
sort of change to our laws, gun safety laws. And yet, all of these
folks that feel that way feel powerless, well, what can I do? Okay, I wanna do something. I can’t have all these people
die and not do something. Oh, I’m gonna call my
legislator, my Congress member or my senator. Most people, okay,
depending on how they feel about this issue, their Congress
member feels the same way. And so, okay, well,
what’s the point of that? Okay, I can go online on social media and say my thoughts and prayers
are with all the families and the victims of this
terrible mass shooting. I just think the structural
issues that we have are in part leading to the frustration that is growing in this country, and that alone is a threat to citizenship. – So I think surveys like that, and especially the reporting of them, it’s incredibly powerful, right? Those numbers matter, they
carry a lot of weight. But one of the challenges
is, when we think about political views,
and I think about this most directly in the
context of immigration, it’s difficult to kind of
get at the complex factor that produced those numbers,
and I’ll give you an example. So over the years, I’ve
done a lot of research in public schools that have
growing immigrant populations, and a lot of interviews
with teachers just about, how does it change your
daily life as a teacher to have your classroom
go from being 50% white, 50% African-American to 40% Latino in the span of a few years? So how does that change what you do? And in a couple of situations, I never, I didn’t ask questions about
teachers’ personal views on immigration, ’cause that
wasn’t what I was really looking at, but teachers
would make statements about being against
undocumented immigration. If it were up to me,
they wouldn’t be here, and then in the next breath,
tell me all the lengths to which they went to support the parents of the immigrant children
in their classroom, of meeting after hours
and going to their house, and doing all of this work
with immigrant parents, who most likely were undocumented, and the teachers knew that. And so, there’s often a
discrepancy on some of these big issues between what we might report in a survey, or what we might even espouse as our view, and then what our actions are. And that, I think, is where social science can really start to help us think about, I do a lot of research with white, working-class communities, many of which are publicly touted as
the heart of Trumpland. And one of the things
that we’re interested in, my colleague and I, is what is at stake when people in these communities
talk about immigration. What is it that’s really driving their sense of being
left out, left behind? Kind of what’s at stake for
them when these claims are made? And those are the kinds
of dynamics that to me are really important, but they’re hard, they’re often hard to
get at in those surveys. But at the same time, nobody
wants to read a 40-page academic article on the
nuances of these processes. And so we’re kinda caught
between the news cycle and the power of those
figures, but then also thinking about what is it that they make visible, but what also do they
mask about those dynamics? – Hi, Rich Wilhelm. My question really gets
back to the issue of listen, I understand the idea there are historical
precedents for this, but we all live in the present moment. And I’m reminded of, in a former life, testifying before Congress after
a particularly long hearing where every question had been gone over, a particular representative
said, “Mr. Wilhelm, I know “that every question has been asked, “but it hasn’t been asked by me yet.” (laughter) But what I’d like you
to comment on is the, it appears like the checks
and balances in our government were designed to work
slowly, and they appear to be working a little bit. But the dialogue, the uncivil dialogue, the demonizing of various groups, the obvious falsehoods that are being told, which, what is this doing to citizenship? What is this doing to the whole? I mean, is this gonna change the way our government operates? It seems to me that’s a real threat to our democratic institutions, even in the endgame if the, is presidential leadership and the idea of presidential leadership being affected? Could you comment on
that a little bit more? I mean, we are living
in the present moment. And everybody, it’s kind of
the elephant in the room. I’d like to hear some comments
about what’s going on. It doesn’t matter what
your political party is, as an American citizen. – I think culture of any
organization or people, communities, and there’s lots
of different communities, right, within the United States, is in part created by the leadership, because we give a lot of
power to the President of the United States,
or to a state legislator or state senator, or to
a mayor or an alderman. And so, I think a lot
about your question, Rich. And I did it during the
campaign, even though it was an unorthodox approach, that I am never gonna say anything about
my opponent, right? I am going to be about
civility and respect, and this belief, that even
though we may have different opinions on different issues,
we all seek to transmit this city, not only,
not less, but greater, better, and more beautiful
than it was transmitted to us. I mentioned that a lot
during the campaign. I mention that periodically
when I feel that people are starting to be very
disrespectful of one another. I run a City Council meeting
practically every Monday. I have people get up there
who are very, very heated, and who use divisive language. And we have a process in our
city where you never engage during public comment, it
is the public’s opportunity to speak to us, but I will
never conduct myself that way. I will always conduct myself
with respect and civility, regardless of how nasty someone may be towards me or other people on the council, and I am trying to lead by
example in my community, and I am trying to lead
by example of just sharing what my opinion is, when people email me or berate me in these emails, and they send it to
everybody on the council. And I send them a very
respectful email back, that oftentimes may disagree. But you’d be shocked how
many people respond back, even though I’ve disagreed with them, like, “Dear Mayor, thanks for responding, “I thought I’d never hear back from you.” But that’s part, in my
opinion, of good government, and it’s being responsive. A lot of times, people
just wanna be heard. I’ve learned that very much
over the last four months. And there’s value in hearing them and just being respectful back to them. But when we’re not, and that’s not the way the President operates,
okay, the President is ready for a fight every single minute. And I sure don’t want a
country where we are like that all the time, and so, I
take the leadership position that I have very, very seriously, to try to impart one
of civility and respect for everyone in the community. – I’ll make one comment,
because it sounds like you, you sound like you wanna hear
something really practical. And there are practical things to be said. And I think, I’ll just
make one, it’s narrow, narrowly tailored, but Citizens United. Right, so it’s unpopular,
really, nobody likes it. And yet, it’s possibly one
of the biggest influences on not just our elections,
but the state we find ourselves in today. And if there were a successful movement to find a way to undo this,
the damage that’s been done, or at least to make it
impossible going forward. Get less money in politics
and more sunlight, I think we’d be in a better place. – You also mentioned
the issue of falsehoods, and I think this is a huge challenge that we don’t know how it will play out. And again, I’m most
familiar with immigration. But if I just think about
some of the announcements and the executive orders, and
the statements about DACA, immigration is always a
politically charged issue, and it’s deeply ideological,
but in this moment, we can’t just agree about
the empirical reality of it, and that’s a real challenge, when you have policies that are being made on egregiously false claims. And these aren’t claims that are debated, these are claims where
there’s extensive research that debunks, say, the link
between immigration and crime, or the link between refugees
and national security risk. We have quite a bit of research on that. And I don’t know what the solution, I mean, we could mandate
that they all take classes in the Maxwell School,
but aside from that, I think this is a huge
challenge of what happens when the people in the positions of power, who are making the truths of the country, are doing so on sort of false
premises, it’s a real issue. And calling into question
other people’s truth claims as just being fake. – I think, Rich, you talk
about being in the moment, and we know that we’re 140 characters away from the next moment, unfortunately. And I think the election,
I mentioned before, was a referendum, and it showed people that they could have
a voice and get a say, and actually have a real movement. And so, that was getting
people very engaged. I think the backlash of that
now is that people are like, oh crap, that’s how we got here, and they’re not gonna be as engaged. And the presidential cycle, I mean it’s only eight years max, so
there’s a certain term, I mean there’s a definitive
term on what that can be. And during times like this,
I think, is when other people like Steve, like my
other colleagues up here, that are the torchbearers,
they carry the baton when that presidential term is over. They’re the ones that need
to keep everybody else engaged during this eight,
four years or eight years, whatever it may be, of I
don’t wanna say turmoil, but certainly inconsistencies,
fake news, whatever it is. And so, it’s up to everyone,
really, to do their part. And we’ve ridden through waves before, we’ll ride through this wave. We’re the greatest nation on Earth, and we will figure it out,
I don’t know how or when. But it really is up to everybody here, maybe to pull a little bit
harder for those who are afraid to get engaged, for those who don’t feel that they’re fully
represented at the table, to show them that they do have a voice, whether they’re here legally or not. – I mean, I would just
add another one, right, is at least when I was a
younger, we had a civics class. And I loved that class, it was
one of my favorite classes. And I think if you surveyed,
and there’s professors here in this room that know this, I don’t. But I think if you surveyed
schools across America, the number of civics classes
that are offered is way down. And yet, we’re talking about our country, and we’re talking about
the future of our country. And is that not worth teaching civics, so people really understand
that this is complex stuff. It’s not black and white. Okay, there really can
be legitimate differences of opinions, but the facts
have to be on the table when we’re making these decisions. – Good afternoon, my name is Cesar Gray, and thank you, Mr. Hagerty,
’cause that’s a perfect segue to what I have to say,
or what I have to ask. I’m a political science
major at the Maxwell School, and in my MAX 123 class, we
talk about the importance of education in the
context of citizenship. And with the systemic dysfunctional nature of public schools recently, can the private sector remedy, and can it prepare students in the
way that public schools can to participate in citizenship,
to participate in democracy? Can private schools
prepare better citizens than public schools? And this speaks to the bigger question of, can the private sector mold
good citizens, and should it? Is the private sector also responsible for what the public has to say
and what the public is doing? – That’s a great question. – Maybe I’ll go first as
the private sector guy. (chuckling) Citizenship isn’t taught in
the public or private sector, it’s taught at home. Steve talked about his upbringing. I was raised by a single mom,
a special education teacher. And it’s really what you’re
grown up with, it’s up to us. I mentioned to you a few minutes ago, we have to carry that baton,
we have to carry that torch for the next generation, three
generations, whatever it is. It’s not up to a specific
industry or a sector of the government, or of the country. It’s up to you, it’s up to me, it’s up to all of us to do it. Everyone does their part to
try and promote citizenship. In the private sector,
there are different things where they promote diversity,
they promote veterans, they promote breast
cancer, whatever the topic of the month is, and they do do that. And they go out of their way to do it. And they also do it to get street cred. Look at how much I’m spending on being socially responsible this year. Come work for us, and so
they’ll take all the kids out of Maxwell and Wharton
and everywhere else. So, do they have a vested interest, sure. But that’s what the private sector does. So I don’t think there’s
any one side that can do it. It’s up to individual
values and beliefs to do it. – I wanna get at the very
specific question you asked, can the private sector prepare students as well as the public sector? Because we have, there’s a
really concrete question in there which has to do with
devolving responsibility for the education of children
to the private sector. And I’m speaking as a layperson
now, not as an expert, because I’m not an expert on
private or charter schools. But from what I’ve read as a layperson, and a layperson with a strong
interest in receiving students who have had a good high school education. Like it makes my week when
everybody looks like they did what they were supposed to be doing. There’ve been some stumbles
in the private sphere. Like there were high hopes
for some of the charter school programs that weren’t realized,
and some of the people who were supporting them have said, “It didn’t work out the
way we wanted it to.” So I don’t think we’ve seen what we, what proponents had hoped out
of charter school education. Doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but I’m not at a point where
I’m willing to kind of go all in because of some of those stumbles. So there’s another issue, too, which is, when we think about education
as a public responsibility, and as something we’re all doing together, we’re all invested, right? And now, we don’t tend to think that way in the United States, in
part because our schools are districted, and the
kind of education you get in the public education
system very much depends on what kind of house your
parents can afford to buy. But if we were thinking about this as a truly public responsibility, we might be in a different place. – Hi, Dustin Brown. One of the things that I talk a lot about with my international
colleagues, who have, as a general rule, certainly
parliamentary systems, governments that are designed to work, is that nobody comes to the U.S. to study our form of
government, which obviously was designed, in the basic
kind of way, not to work, right, with lots of checks and balances that don’t exactly exist. And one of the things
that, especially recently, really seems to be more
prominent, is a lot of the things that allowed the systems
of government to continue to function are eroding. And I mean even things
like earmarks, right, that used to kind of allow
people to vote for things that they may not like, but
they had something in it, and that’s gone. People, once elected to
be a member of Congress, moved their whole families
to Washington, D.C. They got to know each other socially, versus now, you fly in Tuesday morning, you fly out Thursday afternoon. You never actually
interact with other people of maybe a different party socially, you don’t see them on the soccer field like we understand used to
happen a little more often. Gerrymandering obviously
has been brought up. Campaign financing has been brought up. 24/7 news cycle obviously is
a major factor here, as well. And then even an additional
one of the Hastert Rule, which I haven’t heard as much about, but the idea that you only
bring up pieces of legislation that can be passed with just
the majority party’s vote, which is making the idea of compromise seen as a complete
negative versus a positive. And you hear people like
Trent Lott, and now there’s kind of talk about the
need to get back to that, John McCain, most recently, obviously. So anyway, that’s just my list
that I kind of jotted down in terms of things that
are really eating away, and driving kind of our normal functioning that had historically worked
despite some of the things designed in our Constitution
to prevent progress from being made, that are real risks. And I’d be interested if people
have done that sort of real analysis of the root
causes of some of this, and which possibilities we
have that are most immediate, or longer term, to overcome them. – I haven’t done any research
on this, but as a professor, that won’t stop me from giving an answer. Just in listening to you talk,
I was struck by the things that you are describing are in some ways, it’s a process we’re
seeing in a lot of places, which is kind of the disinvestment
in the social fabric. Right, so it used to be that
elected officials were in D.C., and they worked out together
and they played soccer together and they ran into each
other in the hallways. And there was sort of
face-to-face interaction. Even if there were political disagreements or ideological disagreements,
there was a social in some way that was being produced
through those actions. – [Dustin] And their staffs. – And their staffs, so
there was a social fabric, social dynamic that was being produced that we’re just not seeing now. And again, this isn’t
based on any research, but if we think about the
impacts of that disinvestment in the social and other contexts, it’s that, sometimes
it’s that polarization you’re thinking about. So maybe one of the factors we’re seeing is the changing practice
of what it means to be an elected official, just
sort of the day in, day out, is reshaping kind of how
political dynamics play out. Does that hold any water, Elizabeth, our resident political scientist? (chuckling) She says no. – Yeah, I think you’re
not wrong to point out. If I understand correctly, the theme that draws together the
comments that you made is that we seem to be
actively seeking out ways not to compromise, right? And in some ways, we’re
using procedures in Congress to make compromise less likely. And I don’t think that you, I think you have to look to how we run our parties. I’m not even a parties
expert, I don’t know why I keep bringing up parties. But like I think you have
to look at what advantages there are for political
parties, for incumbents, and try and root out some
of the incentives there are, or disincentives to compromise, before you’re gonna be able
to overcome that barrier. Just to your first comment,
our system was designed not to work. I don’t think it was designed not to work, I think it was designed not
to be directly democratic, fully democratic, it was
designed to have some real kind of breaks on certain
types of democracy. But I think the founders
were deeply concerned about whether it would work,
and really wanted it to work, and wanted the very
thing you’re describing, which is compromise
between, at that point, factions that could have
broken the republic apart. Yeah, so. – So my first four months as mayor has been a fascinating experience, unlike anything else
I’ve ever done before. And one of the structural
barriers that became evident to me within the first two weeks, is that I could never actually have
a level of collegiality with the other elected officials, because if we got together,
just on a casual basis to have a beer, okay, and just
to talk about the community, we couldn’t, because we
would be in violation of the Open Meetings Act. And the Open Meetings Act in Illinois says that if you have a nine-person council, which we have a nine-person City Council, no more than two members can
get together at any time. And if the mayor’s involved,
then there could be two members and I, okay? So think about that for a second. We are so concerned about
the nefarious things that these elected officials,
that we have elected to hopefully move us forward
as a community, could do, we have set a law. And by the way, that law
wasn’t set by the local people. That law was set by the state legislators. And by the way, that law doesn’t apply to the state legislators. It only applies to you at the local level. Well, let me tell you, this is a barrier to getting work done, ’cause
how can we have a sense of purpose and collegiality, when, if there are more than
three of them together, City Council members together,
somebody’s reporting it as a violation to the
Attorney General’s office. Oh my gosh, I just saw Paul,
Mary, and Bob together. They must be talking about city business. I mean, it’s bad. It’s bad to the point where
at one of the City Council meetings, someone got up and said, “You guys are in violation
of the Open Meetings Act.” Because when we’re between
meetings, they start off with committee meetings, and it leads up to the City Council meeting,
there’s an aldermanic library. That is where food is served for us, you can go get a sandwich or whatever, and we sit there at a table. “Because you guys are in there, “you must be conducting city business.” And I can tell you, I’ve
been there for four months. Nobody’s in there
conducting city business, they’re tired. (chuckling) And you know, they’re
getting a bite to eat before they go back out to
the next committee meeting or City Council meeting. But this feeling of distrust
that exists out there in communities and across the country towards our government, is a real detriment. And I read a very disturbing article by a United States
Congress member who said, “I really can’t be seen with
somebody from the other party, “because I’m almost viewed as a traitor.” Like what? How are we ever gonna move
forward if that’s the case? – So I wanna thank all
of you for coming out. Can we give our panelists
a round of applause? (applause) And I wanna give a shout,
oh, I think he’s left. I wanna give a shout-out
to our awesome undergrad from 123, who had a fabulous question that I’m still thinking about, about public versus private schools. So thank you for coming, and
we appreciate your questions.

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