Saturday, December 01, 2007

Heartland Presidential Forum Focuses on Community Values

I was planning on liveblogging the Heartland Presidential Forum that takes place this afternoon at 1:30 in Des Moines, but am cancelling the trip due to the snow/ice. Though, I was eager to see firsthand the candidates face voters one on one, once I saw that travel is not advised in central Iowa my decision to stay home was easier to make.

I will be watching it on CSPAN and checking in at Movement Vision Lab's blog. If you are in the Des Moines area and are able to make it to Hy Vee for the event, tickets are free and are available at the door.

The Des Moines Register included an Op-ed from Hugh Espey, the Executive Director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and a story from Rekha Basu talking about the forum and how it focuses on community values and questions from Iowans. Here is part of Espey's piece...

This country has a long history of understanding and honoring the idea of community values, of uniting our diverse society to accomplish common goals and move our society forward together. That story is embodied in our national motto of E Pluribus Unum - "From Many, One." We've exhibited it in our cooperative efforts to overcome common challenges including World War II, the Great Depression, childhood diseases, the denial of civil rights and even winning the race to the moon. In embracing community values, our culture rejects selfishly pursuing individual interests at the expense of others.

That is why the Heartland Presidential Forum on Dec. 1 in Des Moines is so important. It is the only presidential forum where people from all walks of life will join together to talk about real issues and the need to address those issues in a way that is good for all of us.

It is time to embrace our community spirit and to reject the "go it alone" mentality that tells people it is acceptable to harm our natural surroundings for personal profit, or to pit city against suburb for political gain. We can apply this same approach to health care, immigration, education and the array of other issues that face our country.

Together, we can rediscover our belief in the common good, recognize that we are indeed connected and redefine what "values" really mean in the political debate.

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