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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Wednesday Community Conversation Is About Threats To Our Democracy

 December 2, 2020 at 9:53 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 We are excited about a special event. KPBS is producing online tonight, along with the national conflict resolution center. It's the latest in our series of community conversations, the topic for this post election panel discussion, which I'm moderating is timely and critical, keeping our democracy. What now I'll be questioning three San Diego political scientists and inviting your questions and online participation as well. Joining me now for a preview of our discussion is one of our panelists. The Gina Goss is a professor of political science at UC San Diego. Welcome to midday edition. Speaker 2: 00:38 Thank you. I'm glad to be here. Speaker 1: 00:40 Multiple issues and trends arose during the 2020 election, which are still affecting our democracy. Let's start with the black lives matter movement manifested in massive protests here in San Diego and in cities across this nation this year, how important was that movement in the election? Speaker 2: 00:56 Black lives matter was a very important in the 2020 election. It didn't start this year. It's started, it was founded years ago and re reactions of police brutality in lots of different locations. But this year it was really important, especially during the pandemic and especially in light of, uh, new videos and, uh, stories of police shootings throughout the country. And in San Diego, it helped a lot of people to express their concerns and also organize and really be in community with people to talk about how issues were affecting them, and also think about ways to get politics politicians to represent their issues. So I think it framed a lot of people's understanding of how to think about politics and how to think about what this election meant to them in 2020. Speaker 1: 01:42 In what ways does the treatment of black Americans and other people of color affect our democracy? It must be profound. Speaker 2: 01:49 Yeah, it really is. When we think about democracy, democracy is supposed to represent everyone equally. And when you have people within a society who are consistently being victimized consistently not being the winners in a democracy, it's not just an indictment on the way that those people are treated, but it's an indictment on our democracy as a whole, if an entire populations of people aren't actively being able to participate in the democracy itself, isn't doing what it's supposed to be doing. Speaker 1: 02:17 And in your view, what needs to happen to make our democracy, what it aspires to be a country where we, the people means everyone, Speaker 2: 02:25 Part of it is really living up to that value of what we, the people means. And recognizing that democracy isn't just for certain populations. It isn't just for individuals, but it's for everyone. And, uh, for us to live up to that really requires us to understand that to be American is a very diverse concept. That's just not about, uh, kind of what we might understand as American, which typically tends to be associated with whiteness, but it also represents other groups who have been born and raised in this country, but even those who have come and naturalize into citizenship and, and those who typically we may not think of as American, uh, including black populations who we've talked about, even in this conversation as being, uh, unlikely to win representation, uh, or, uh, be received justice as victims of crimes, or even as perpetrators or crimes. Speaker 1: 03:21 Now it's been said, often an Americans are divided. That's maybe one thing we can all agree on. We see events through different lenses, facts, and they're seen as facts by millions, science's dismissed and lies and disinformation, including from the president of the United States, swirl around us daily. Why do you think this is happening and what can be done about it? Speaker 2: 03:40 I think a lot of it is just distrust in other people. We don't trust the people who are telling us things and we don't trust the way they think of ourselves. Uh, we don't trust that people believe that we're able to understand politics. So when people are telling us that you don't understand things, it makes them less likely to listen to those people as authorities. Right? So a lot of it is, uh, based, I think in a lot of hurt and pain and a lot of distrust and miscommunication and misperceptions of people. We don't understand because they're not active participants. Uh, they're not the people we interact with on a daily basis. So when we hear information from them, we discredit it. Especially if that information, isn't something that aligns with, uh, conclusions that we really understand or things though the way we think about society and the world Speaker 1: 04:32 And how can we get to where we at least agree on what our goals are as a country? Speaker 2: 04:37 A lot of that I think is respect and trust. Uh, it, I don't know if it necessarily requires us to start by trying to agree on facts. I think it starts by as learning to respect each other and understand where we're coming from. When we entered into these conversations, we get there, we can start understanding or believing the things that people say to us because we believe their intentions to be true and honest and respectable. Speaker 1: 05:00 I want to let listeners know, I'll explain in a minute how you can join our event online tonight, but a final question for now how big a threat to our democracy does this font of misinformation, the outright lies and false stories presented. Speaker 2: 05:14 It's a huge threats to democracy. Like I said before, democracy requires us to not only be invested in our own rights and liberties being represented, but those of other people, but if we don't acknowledge other people respect their right to be participants in a democracy, then the entire institution is threatened and crippled and we can't make the necessary decisions to move forward. As a, as a country, Speaker 1: 05:38 I've been speaking with Latina Goss assistant professor of political science at UC San Diego. Thanks very much. Speaker 2: 05:44 Thank you for having me. It was great to be here. Speaker 1: 05:46 Our panel discussion and interactive session begins online at six to see evening, to be a part of it. Join us through KPBS, his Facebook page or our YouTube account. You can find at kpbs.org/events, community conversations is a partnership of KPBS and the national conflict resolution center made possible by Rady children's hospital, auxiliary and California state university sandbox.

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