What is a Meetup? How many attend a Meetup?
In-person Meetups are hosted by moderators and occur in a friendly, comfortable environment for political discussions. Topics are selected by CPL members through polls. The size of the Meetups range from 10 to 20, depending on the topic. Virtual Meetups are held online. We provide a moderator for each 20 participants. All participants must register in advance for Meetups.
Do you get equal numbers of liberals and conservatives?
Generally, our in-person Meetups represent the population where we’re meeting. Also, the topic we’re discussing influences who attends. Even when a meeting is attended by participants with similar political identification, we still find conversation rewarding because no two persons believe the same things for the same reasons.
Why is your logo red and blue? Don’t you welcome people with other views?
Yes, we do. The logo is red, white, and blue. It represents the American flag.
Where did the name come from?
How do you keep the discussions civil?
CPL is more than a series of discussions. It is a community, with community norms built around the skills and practices that have proven successful in creating civil, respectful dialogue. Often times, the established norms keep the discussions civil. To reinforce (or create for new groups) these norms, we offer training for members, display posters that communicate best practices, and require that every meeting be facilitated by a moderator trained in the CPL methods.
Will I be safe?
Yes. One significant difference between a CPL meeting and other environments in which you might find yourself inclined to talk politics is that everyone in the room wants to hear your views. We come together to learn from one another. You will not be shunned or cast aside for sharing your views with the group.
Are CPL Moderators trained?
Yes! All are moderators have gone through our 4 week Moderator Training course and proven their readiness by running meetings under the supervision of one or both of CPL’s founders.
This training is online, self-paced, and free. Each week, moderators-in-training work through four lessons, attend a virtual class meeting, and practice what they’ve learned in mock-discussions.
Do I need to have all the facts and know a lot about the topic?
No. While facts matter, our discussions focus on why you have the facts you have and what you do with those facts. No one person can have all the facts, because we are all coming from a variety of walks of life. It’s even more humbling to learn why one person notices and remembers certain facts while another person remembers different facts.
That said, we provide links to reading material to use as a basis for each topic. Reading the material before the Meetup helps you form your own views about the same material other participants will read.
What do I do, or does the moderator do, when someone says something that is blatantly false?
When you hear something that you know to be false, the one thing we do not want you to do is blame the speaker. That is, don’t call a speaker a liar or ignorant. Never accuse a speaker of being wrong or misinformed. Instead, we advise you to be take a closer look and ask clarifying questions.
- Respond with “I’ve never heard that before,” or “That doesn’t line up with what I’ve read.”
- Let it pass. Often, the more interesting part of the conversation comes before or after the facts.
- Invite the speaker to look into that fact together: “That’s interesting. That goes counter to what I’ve heard. Would you be willing to look this up together so we can get on the same page before proceeding?”
So you’re trying to come to compromise or persuade agreement between all sides?
No. CPL is about curiosity and civility—it’s not just a question of “what do you believe?” but also “how do your experiences lead to your beliefs?” and “what do you know that I don’t?” Until we start to see things from another’s point of view, we can’t begin to find common ground upon which we agree.
What makes you think this technique will achieve anything?
It’s based on a great deal of research spanning over the past 65 years on how to bring conflicting groups together and create a more comfortable environment for discussions. While being in the same room is important, that is not enough. CPL techniques are built on practices that have been tested and refined.
Is the other side crazy?
Probably not. One of the most common findings we learn through CPL discussions is that unless we actively seek out and consume media and information from all sides, we are only aware of a part of the whole picture. A person with a perspective differing significantly from yours is probably wired in a way that leads them to notice and remember different things than you, and most assuredly, is operating with different facts than you.
Will I learn to convince the other side better?
No. But you will learn techniques that you can use to make it more likely that others will listen to what you have to say.
CPL is about being able to glimpse and see from another’s point of view, like walking in someone else’s shoes, at least for the moment. To be curious, we need to be open, which means that we’re willing to quiet the arguments that we build in our heads, and simply focus on listening more effectively.
What if I have more questions?
We’re glad you have more questions and are here to listen.
Please reach out to us to start a conversation here.