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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Community Conversation: Keeping Our Democracy: What Now?

 December 7, 2020 at 10:47 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 A fundamental part of maintaining our democracy is for citizens to have faith in it that has been eroding among sections of the public. Last week, KPBS conducted a community forum on the subject, keeping our democracy what now the virtual event was hosted by Mark Sauer of the KPBS round table and featured guests, Dr. LaJean GOs, a UCF assistant professor of political science and Dr. Carl Luna, Mesa college, political science professor, and director of the Institute for civil civic engagement. They tackle the difficult questions such as what can we, as Americans do to agree on what we stand for and shore up our democracy. Here's part one of that discussion. Speaker 2: 00:46 Carl, let's start with you on this one, attempts to disenfranchise voters were widespread in 2020 as were attempts to subvert the results with the election processes controlled by States and counties. How do we ensure fair elections in the future? And how do we ensure that everyone believes their vote will count? You know, Tom, excuse me, Mark. That that's an incredible issue that we have to deal with because in this election right now, there's 40 to 50 million Americans. That don't think it was a fair election. I don't know how much of that is lip service because they're side lost or how much of that is really good. Gutfeld had the election gone. The other way of Joe Biden had lost to the electoral college. He was seeing the same thing occurring. Uh, what we need to do from top to bottom is first start reeducating Americans, about how this system works. Speaker 2: 01:35 I was thinking, uh, uh, Michael VU, our registrar works so hard to really get out to the, the, the, the community, how they were doing this process with the thousands of people involved and how fraud on a meaningful scale is just not possible. I was thinking maybe they need to put together like a little animated, like a health ed class movie. Like we saw back when we were kids just to show this is your ballot, and this is what will happen to it because when people don't know how this system works, they are prone to all the disinformation and the Latina you take on this one. Speaker 3: 02:07 Sure. I want to start by talking about, uh, the first part of your comment about how dishpan tracked disenfranchisement. A lot of efforts to keep people from voting in this election, um, were, was a pretty big conversation this year. And, uh, and it's true. There was a lot of attendance. There was a lot of court cases, a lot of challenges to try to make it more difficult for certain people to vote. Um, but also, I don't think those attempts are really new and, and even more importantly, uh, this was probably one of the most secure elections we had in a really long time. Even recently, this week, we had the, uh, department of justice talk about how secure this elections was and hopefully him saying that right, being someone who is, uh, in the executive branch, uh, from the Trump administration might convince people that the elections were in fact fair. Speaker 3: 03:00 But as Carl just said, a lot of people may not believe it just because, uh, they didn't win the election and the kind of a sore loser scenario. But another scenario is that, uh, partisanship was in general, uh, determined a lot of people's understanding of what was going on in this election. And maybe if we would move partisanship from the equation, uh, that could help improve people's, uh, understanding or faith in the election and electoral process. Right? So if you think about it in most States, elections are administered by people who are elected to RFS based on their partisanship or elected officials appoint them. So say secretaries of States or, um, state legislators that draw congressional districts, uh, and perhaps if, uh, those administrators of people who decided the way elections would take place we're nonpartisan, or even better we're multi or bi-partisan, then people would have faith that their interests were represented in the way that the elections took place. Speaker 3: 03:59 And this could also increase trust because a lot of times there's lots of research that shows that, uh, people don't really trust politicians from the other side or even better. They're more likely to trust the people that they elected to office, even if they're doing the same things that someone else might've been doing criticism is leveraged more often on people, uh, who aren't elected by individuals, right? So, uh, perhaps if we increase the representation of people's partisan interests on the boards, uh, uh, and on the commissions and, uh, in the, uh, among the people who are actually deciding how elections are run, then people will have more faith. And I absolutely agree with Carl that transparency, transparency is also really important so that people understand how the process is taking place. But even with that, it seems that, uh, people don't trust that the information that they're being given is in fact true, uh, because of some of the things I just Speaker 4: 04:56 Right. We're going to get back to that point in a bid. And another question Carl, I wanted to pick up before we leave this question on something LaJean had just said, and that is about how elections are run at the local level. Is it time to have these federal elections run by a federal commission that's bipartisan and take them away from the secretaries of state who might be a candidate and it might actually run the state's electoral process. Speaker 2: 05:18 Yeah, Mark, I think you've got a point there now, as Latina pointed out, there's really two issues here. One is how do you count the votes? And I think you could get all the secretaries of state across the political parties all out there agreeing with a concerted campaign between now and 2024 to really argue to their partisans on both sides. The votes once they're cast are going to be fairly counted. It's really that first part though, that LaJean was pointing out the attempt to keep voters from being able to vote with state election laws, which vary by state, how you get to register, how you get your ballot. You get to cast your ballot. That becomes the real issue. The voter fraud, if, if there is any, is Speaker 5: 05:58 The fraud millions of voters who have a much harder time voting than they should. Now, what you need to do is to go to a national system, but we're a federal system. And given the way the Senate works, given the way the States preserve their own integrity. I think the better thing you might be able to do is just to vote out a big ton of money to the States, to really run from the federal level, give them money to run really good elections, uh, and also give them some incentives to get the most people possible, barely in legitimately registered. Uh, time's going to change a lot of this anyways, demographics in America switch, but in the short term, uh, you've got to be able to run elections. What confidence in and money could help that Speaker 4: 06:38 And a Latino just before we leave this one point, uh, Carl brought up a point that got me to thinking about the frog was ahead of the election. We had president Trump and we'll get more into this later. It was, uh, it was talking about it's going to be a fraudulent election. Even the attorney general BARR was saying male, male, unbalance, or fraudulent on their nature, that kind of poisoned the well months before we even took the boat. Speaker 3: 07:00 It was purposeful, uh, an attempt to poison the, well, I think there were concerted efforts to make people have less faith in the election so that if the election didn't go in president, Trump's way that, uh, he could leverage challenges and look legitimate and have his efforts to do so. But also I believe that, uh, that's why it's necessary to kind of remove partisanship or add more partisanship into the ways that elections are structured. So that one party can't only pursue electoral strategies that would allow them to win elections. Speaker 4: 07:37 All right, let's turn now to American racism, people of color, whether they're native born or immigrants have always been subject to barriers, exclusion, indignities, hardships, and violence, blacks, especially what do we need to change socially and politically so that we, the people means everyone, the genus start us off on this one. Speaker 3: 07:56 Sure. I think one of the starting points is to think about what it means to be American and what we, the people mean. And there's research in political science and in psychology that shows that when people are asked what America looks like a lot of times it's white people, uh, whether they are American citizens or not, they're more likely to be considered American and anyone who doesn't fit that image is given a lot more distrust. People don't believe them as often. They're thought of as, uh, not as intelligent, not as trustworthy, not as honest, uh, just not as good. Right? And so, uh, this colors a lot of interactions that occur. So a lot of conversations over the last several years have been, uh, talking about policing, uh, but it also colors the way that prosecutors pursue cases, where the jurors decide guilt or innocence, um, and even sentencing. Speaker 3: 08:49 Um, and then it's also in the way, uh, that other types of institutions in society is as a way that teachers teach social workers. Uh, politicians, uh, most of us have biases that are associated with this understanding of American equals white. I remember reading, uh, the, uh, Brown vs board education. And they relied on this, uh, study in psychology, where they asked little children to think about, uh, like what a good or bad person was by giving them these dolls. Right. And there are more likely to think a white doll was good and, um, a black doll was bad and that was regardless of their race or their children, they were talking about. So these biases don't just exist among white people, uh, and they don't exist among everyone, right. But there's a strong association that really colors the way that politics works, the way that society functions and the way that individuals interact with each other. Speaker 3: 09:47 So the first step I believe in, uh, dealing with American racism is to challenge these beliefs, right. And one way that we've thought of a good way I guess, was to do it was to think about blind lists, which is, uh, an attempt to see everyone is equal, which I think is maybe a misstep, right? Because if we only look at people and assume that there are no differences, then we really dismissed a lot of the different lived experiences that you talked about Mark, when I'm imposing this question, right? The fact that some people really do have different realities that make it more difficult for them to do things that make individualism, uh, really difficult, right? So institutional racism that exists that really puts people at disadvantages. So before we address any, uh, inequalities, we have to first acknowledge that they exist in the first place. Speaker 3: 10:35 We have to acknowledge that racism is a thing. And maybe the second step is to think about how we can challenge these through representation. Right? If we put people in positions of power or authority that were particularly particular, um, historically, uh, held by, uh, mostly white men, uh, then we can start challenging our beliefs about what it looks like to be a good person, smart have good leadership. Right. And, uh, it's interesting that a lot of these conversations about representation, uh, tend to go into these conversations about identity politics, right? So because people question, uh, people's abilities and their capabilities, uh, there's tends to be a greater scrutiny for people who aren't normally in these positions, right? So, uh, if there's a woman or a person of color, a black person, uh, they're more likely to, to have their, uh, their record challenged more than if it was a white male. Speaker 3: 11:33 Right. And, uh, there's been a lot of conversations even thinking about the previous elections, where if you look at Donald Trump's, uh, qualifications, but for running for office compared to those of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, uh, he looks on paper a lot less qualified for office, but there were a lot less concerns that his election was just about identity. Uh, when in a lot of ways it was right. He left, he represented, uh, identity within society that people believe should be in those positions. Uh, and then, um, there are also people who are concerned about identity politics, because they think that having a, I guess, a symbolic or token representative doesn't actually, uh, lead to better policy or letters, better situations, uh, which could be true. But when you think about it, one person can never represent everyone. One person, uh, can never truly, uh, represent all interests, right? Speaker 3: 12:30 So, uh, it's true that, uh, one person, uh, may not represent the entire group. Well, just because, uh, the group is very diverse and, uh, we need many different types of representation and many different types of people to challenge this association that we, the people only means white people, right? And, and so that means having black conservatives, having black liberals, having black people in a lot of different identities, representing interests or representing, uh, our, uh, our interest in government or, uh, showing up in, uh, leadership roles and employment, or even on television to really challenge our associations about what it means to be American or what we, the people should represent. Uh, and, and the last point I'll make on this is that we can't really wait on a consensus to make change. A lot of times people have a challenge to try and to, uh, challenge racism by saying people aren't ready for it. But a lot of the times that we've had the most progress towards change has happened despite public opinion. So I don't think public opinion is the best way to think about ways towards, uh, improving our representation or addressing racism, whether individual or systemic. Speaker 4: 13:49 All right. Carla wanted to give you a crack at this. Uh, president elect Biden has a very diverse so far. We haven't seen certainly by any means all of his appointments, but, uh, it's looking a lot more like America, I think, as his administration starts to take form, what's your take on this question? Speaker 2: 14:04 Well, and in saying that Mark that's what, how to say the scarce part of the other side, uh, it's not there America, you know, you have a big hunk of America that lives in areas which are disproportionately white, rural areas that don't have a lot of cultural diversity to them. And they have been led to associate their own economic decline over the last 30, 40 years with the fact that other people are now doing better. Uh, what do you do about this? Uh, I'll go back to Cindy lopper, money changes, everything. What you gotta do is get prosperity, widespread, prosperity up. So the rising tide is going up once you have some people coming down while, uh, other people seem to be coming up, they skip that correlation for going back to George Wallace, that because black workers were making more money for a finally in the early sixties, white workers losing money because of mechanization, it was affirmative action. Speaker 2: 14:54 And all that was causing the problem. Not globalization, not changes the overall economy. I mean, I'm an Italian-American, here's the funny thing. We weren't white as a people until after world war II. When my father was in the deep South for the war, he was exposed to all kinds of prejudices against the Italian Americans. African-Americans remember. We only have Columbus day because in the 1890s, a Lynch mob, lynched 11 Italian American citizens for the, the death of a local sheriff, which they had nothing to do with and the nation of Italy threatening war, unless we did something. And that's how we discovered Italians and made them part of the narrative. You've got to bring in a narrative in which everybody's prospering as some sense of common identity with us thing, maintaining all the glorious differences. We have the food court model, but you still have everybody going to that food court and enjoying it. Uh, it's gonna take a decade or two to dig ourselves out of the economical, the AB of economic prosperity, only flowing upwards. Once you got more of a widespread prosperity, hopefully by the end of the decade, uh, it's remarkable how a full stomach and happy a bank account can moderate some of these issues over time. At least one would hope Speaker 4: 16:09 The agenda before we leave this question, I wanted to touch on something that Carl said, and that is, um, when, when and how will we ever see diversity as a strength, not a, uh, a threat to certain parts of American society. Speaker 3: 16:23 Yeah. Do you think a lot of it has to deal with, uh, people's own understanding of their economic situations, right? So, uh, when people are, are having less economic prosperity, that tend to challenge or scapegoat or blame, I guess, other people who aren't like them. Right? So a lot of it is, uh, in times of prosperity, it seems that, uh, there's more community building and more, uh, respect for differences. But when, uh, there's, uh, more seems like there's more zero sum games, then that's when you do see a lot more conflict. Uh, and I mean, another way that there tends to be more, I guess, cohesion is in times of when there's a common enemy. So in times of war, uh, though, I don't think anyone is really advocating for that type of event in order to bring people together. Speaker 4: 17:17 Well, we'll see what happens. Of course, we're all rooting for a cure. I hadn't thought of until just now that the vaccine may help us in regards to race relations. In addition to getting rid of this terrible virus, hopefully, well, let's move on here. We're going to talk about facts versus disinformation and central to the current division in American society is that facts are no longer regarded as truths by everyone. Science is distained by millions, bizarre conspiracy theories, gain traction, where their facts are acknowledged as true often depends on political belief these days, how can voters, which sources are reliable and what if they just don't care? I'll toss that to you to start with, Speaker 5: 17:55 All right, to know what sources are reliable, watch KPBS failures, Speaker 4: 17:58 Go, thank you very much. Speaker 5: 18:01 And then watch Fox news and then watch MSNBC and then read the wall street journal. The New York times, uh, sample a lot of different media. If all you ever get are things that agree with you, uh, you're watching the wrong stuff cause nobody's right all the time. Uh, if it challenges you, you got to buck up and face that and try to see why people may have different views than you. Now, that being said, most Americans don't spend their time watching NPR, KPBS, uh, reading the New York times, the wall street journal, they're living their lives and they pick up stuff on the side, they get it off their face, a book and their social media streams. I swear, social media is the lead in our societies water today from ancient Rome, there is so much stuff which gets attention because again, God bites, man, no story, man bites, dog, but man's part of the conspiracy to enslave children and steal an election that gets all the attention. Speaker 5: 18:56 Uh, facts are often not as sexy as fiction, which is why we watch dramas. How you combat that. Oh, well, you've got to start looking at things like the time law. Uh, if you're using broadcast bandwidth, that is a taxpayer, that is a public trust. You should have to use a properly. You are not allowed to pollute the waterways with the, with chemicals. You shouldn't be able to pollute the bandwidth with things which simply aren't true. Drive it off to the sides of the discussion, not the centerpiece. I do not think it is a, a, a coincidence that, that 30, some years after we got rid of all time, will, will the rhizobium talk radio that we're in the situation we are today because Aiden park radio was not there to sell facts. It's there to sell my pillow. It's there to sell a whole bunch of products and you get those products sold by just being outrageous. Speaker 4: 19:46 The Gina, um, point I wanted to pick up on was one thing Carl had said, and that is you take these crazy theories. Q Anon is a perfect example, but there's a number of them. Now, this whole fraud and the election we were talking about, it used to be fringe stuff at the edges, and now it's really front and center. We can't agree on, on facts. We got a crisis, a health, public health crisis here. Certain per percentage of the population thinks it's a hoax yet climate change and other a perfect one. It's a hopes of scientists. The facts are overwhelming worldwide from scientists in the know, uh, what, what do we do to combat this? Speaker 3: 20:23 Yeah, I think Carla is absolutely right that a diversity of information sources is really important. One problem. He blamed social media, but I think the reason social media, uh, kind of gives people the news they want is because people want the news that they want, right? They want information that confirms things that seem to fit in their understanding of the world and anything that doesn't fit with that. They discount it. They don't, they don't necessarily, or don't necessarily, uh, want to challenge things, our understandings of the world. Uh, so when coming across information, even in this world where we might only get things that we agree with, uh, the first thing I think is really important to do is look at the source of that information, to understand what the qualification that individual or that that institution has to, to make the claim and then figure out how they got to their conclusions, what their evidence is, what their experiences are, how those led, and then find other people, uh, from different sources, different types of, uh, experiences and see if they, they believe the same thing. Speaker 3: 21:26 If everyone's saying the same thing, but they're all the same type of person then maybe the information isn't correct. Uh, but the other part that you just mentioned is, uh, this, uh, concern about, uh, excuse me, the distrust of people that we don't uh, agree with. Right? So it's, uh, in believing these conspiracy theories, right? And I think a lot of that is motivated. I just read this article recently on meta perceptions, which is basically about how, when someone looks at another group who isn't like them, they tend to overly, uh, have over perceptions of that. Group's negativity about them, right? So, uh, if I'm a Democrat, I think Republicans dislike me a lot more than Republicans actually do. And that makes you not want to listen to what they have to say, because, uh, no one wants to talk to someone who doesn't like them or is always telling them that what they think is false, right? Speaker 3: 22:25 So maybe one step towards helping people agree on facts and green and, and believe less, these conspiracy theories is to really get over or find a way around these misperceptions that people have about, uh, people with views who are different from them, right? So not necessarily finding common ground on the issues, but finding common ground on our mutual respect for each other understandings of us or of people who aren't like us, because it seems a lot of that might be motivated by just over, uh, because of the hurt and pain from, from difficult conversations that haven't been past, uh, adding extra negativity to the way that they may think of me as an individual. Uh, so maybe, yeah, maybe one of the first step or a, uh, a crucial step is really dealing with the way that people relate to each other more so than trying to, uh, or in addition to trying to address how people understand facts. Speaker 4: 23:26 Uh, Carl, I wanted to pick up on the, uh, the whole idea and the notion of, uh, gullibility, you know, the old idea that I was born at night, but I wasn't born last night. You've got to show me I'm skeptical. Uh, people seem to just swallow things whole that you just say it and said, let's see where top Democrats celebrities are stealing children and cannibalizing them. That's the heart of the Q Anon theory. You've got members of Congress now who, um, embraced that theory. W how did this happen? Speaker 5: 23:56 Well, in part, I think it's because, you know, we, the, uh, the, the experts have kind of betrayed the other 80% of the society. Top 20% of America has been doing pretty good the last 30, 40 years. Uh, and the experts come up with ideas, how to keep things going. And the macro economy is looking good. And the overall system seems to be working, but a lot of people are simply being left behind or having a hard time moving forward. I mean, I was supposed to have my buck Rogers Jetpack by now science, all the, the stuff in the 20th century, when it took care of things like antibiotics, refrigeration, and we doubled the lifespan. The last 30 years, science is now up against things like the big C cancer, and it's taking longer to get a payback. A lot of people are saying, look, my standard of living is stagnant, or a bunch of Americans are dying younger than they used to. Speaker 5: 24:45 Our life expectancy actually went down in the double arts for having steaks. That being the case, they say, well, science, isn't helping me though. At least I can believe in theories that make me feel good. If science gets delivered, what you need to do again, and he'd be harping on it, but get people's quality of life up by finding ways that we can improve health care, we can improve economic productivity and keep healing for people. Um, my peeps and above, uh, top 1%, top 20% takes us left. Not much goes to the bottom of 40 pounds. How we reach that sort of social justice is going to be predicated on how we organize our overall economy Speaker 4: 25:23 With COVID. You've got cause and effect. It's a hoax, it's a hoax. I got sick. I still believe it's a hoax. Speaker 3: 25:29 Yeah. And I think maybe one of the issues is calling it gullibility. Right. I think we're all in these information chambers where the people we're around are all saying the same things. Right. So we may look at someone and say like, where did you get this from? This came out of nowhere. And I know no one who believes that, where they're looking at us to say, like, everybody I know is saying the same thing, right. So why are you kind of calling me, I guess, gullible, right? And, and that's where it's really important to try to diversify information sources, but also to not, I guess, blame people or scapegoat people for the misinformation that they do believe and, and do better at trying to build trust so that when people do receive information, they're not just thinking that the person who sharing it is, is trying to get over on them or trying to manipulate them into thinking things that aren't aligning with their understanding of the world. And understanding of all the people who are they relate with on a daily basis, Speaker 5: 26:31 Just real quickly. This thing I heard all this terrible long year is the story of people that are dying in places like South Dakota, North Dakota, in COVID wards, denying with their last breath that they have. COVID because their whole worldview is on the verge of being shattered and their last moments. We need to get that out as ads to people. I mean, we're, as a society of marketers market, the truth science has to learn to do a better job of marketing the truth, academic staff too, because if we think people are just going to listen to us because of the degrees that day as long past, Speaker 4: 27:05 All right, let's move to another question here. We've got one from Kathy Dunn and nurse. Um, sad question. Really. I personally have been so disappointed in, in lofts lost my faith, the basic goodness of the American people. How can we move beyond this and 2021 in Yon, I'm going to take a guess here and maybe think she's referring to the fact that, uh, masks are such a proven and factual way to do knock down this virus and flatten the curve as we hear about. And so many people that are the size of this. Unfortunately, going to start with that one on our old, you know, this as well. Speaker 3: 27:38 Sure. I mean, uh, we're, we are definitely kind of seeing the worst of humanity at the moment. It seems right. The, the discharge, the distrust, the last lack of coming together. Uh, and I think a lot of it is built out of anxiety. Uh, we're not used in modern society society. We're not used to dealing with a lot of, uh, anxiety, a lot of conflict, a lot of, uh, concerns about where food's going to come from or shelter or, uh, whether we can interact with our family members. And there's just been a lot of that over the last couple of decades, right? Uh, this, this pandemic in itself is a combination of like a long years of, of things that have really been affecting people. Uh, Carl's talking about the inequality that is that, um, has happened polarization over the same time period. Uh, but then this, these health HI-SEAS, uh, that keep coming up and, and people aren't really used to that. And so maybe a focus on, uh, coping mechanisms and, and trying to, instead of our knee jerk reactions, to blaming people for, for issues, really trying to come together and address them as a community instead of just pointing fingers, curl your thoughts on them. Speaker 5: 28:50 Well, this is one of those cases though, where the historical figure stands at the center of all this bottom line. If president Trump had worn a mask nine months ago and told everybody else to do it, his party, everybody would have been wearing them. And all the mega colors they could have had, and we wouldn't have this problem. What he did is not going to be judged well by history, but that's where we are people that are sized. It had some of his base wouldn't have liked it. They would have said, Oh, that's you know, my personal freedom. No, you don't have the freedom to give other people a disease. I don't have the freedom of driving 100 miles an hour on the freeway. I don't want the freedom to go out with COVID and breathe on you. We failed in that basic civics lesson in our schools for a couple of generations. Speaker 5: 29:33 Now that people think the MI is important. Remember, there's no meat. And we, the people, uh, on the left, you're still gonna have a problem. The vaccines do come out. Remember the anti-vaxxers really are that's the other side on the left of cue and on, on the right. And you're going to have 30% of the population. That's not going to get vaccinations. I'm really fearful. What's going to be required is a hard learned lesson where we're going to lose a lot more people that shouldn't have died. And maybe at some point, our humanity reasserts itself, when enough of us have actually seen that suffering and go, what the hell were we thinking about? How can we be better? This is going to be the teachable moment of the next 20. Speaker 4: 30:14 All right. Let's shift gears here. And this is kind of an encompassing question from Jenny Prisk. Uh, Jenny, if you're out there, I remember you well worked over the years with you. I've lived in the San Diego 37 years currently live in New Zealand because of COVID. Are you studying other countries, media platforms to find good practices to emulate Carl, start us off on that one. Speaker 5: 30:35 What was the line from Admiral Stockwell and not of ammunition on that one? Speaker 4: 30:41 I Speaker 5: 30:41 Have not really dug into, like, if you're talking about media platforms, I'm not quite sure what you mean. Speaker 4: 30:46 Are we seeing this kind of stuff that we're talking about, this, this mistrust and, and fringe theories into the mainstream and all this stuff in other countries here or are, you know, they have the internet, they have social media, or is it American phenomenon? Speaker 5: 30:59 Remember New Zealand had a terrible mass shooting, or we had a terrible mass shooting. And the old right is a global phenomenon fascism and Neo fascism is going to be the biggest challenge is currently the biggest challenge for liberal democracies. As we move in the century, these are people are saying, I want to go back to a glorious past. I want to all powerful state to protect me and we'll throw everybody else under the bus. So these movements are not unique to the United States. You've got it in Canada, you've got it in Mexico. Brazil, look at the number of strong men. The number of populous demagogues that are on the rise in China is mutating into more of a state capitalist, uh, authoritarian Nazis. Now let's just call it a Neo nationalist sort of system. Uh, it's going to be a rough 2020s. I'll just be honest with that with everybody. The 2030s, 2040s, 2050s are going to get better, but we've dug ourselves into this hole over the last few decades. And it's going to take a decade of prosperity of people trying to come together and solve problems, particularly with these huge pandemics we have. I, and this will not be the last pandemic to be sure that's not a globalization. We're either going to come together as a planet or working to set ourselves back a century or two. Speaker 4: 32:12 And it's interesting. The leader in New Zealand, you make that point also was given great credit. The numbers there are very low, and she did what you were talking about. The Trump failed to do, which was wear a mask beat on this issue, have cracked crackdowns and have a good campaign that people bought into the same thing after the shooting there, where they had had some meaningful gun control reform. Uh, we're gonna, we only have a few minutes left here. So I wanted to move on to, uh, a question for Gina, Rodney w asks with a history of medical experiments, performed on people of color in America. How do we reassure the people of color? The vaccine is safe? Speaker 3: 32:47 Yeah, that's been a huge issue in a conversation that I've heard a lot and, and it, and I think it also relates to something that Carlos or reminded me, uh, something that calls that reminded me is that, uh, populism, isn't just the thing on the right, right. Th there's been this antiestablishment sentiment and a lot of different countries and, and it also deals with kind of people of color and the way they think about, uh, uh, governments and, and also, uh, the medical profession, right? So there, there's still this distrust of these institutions. And, uh, also with how quickly the vaccine, uh, came to place. There are a lot of people who are just really nervous, uh, about, uh, the implications of a vaccine. Uh, and a lot of it's just going to take some of it's going to take some blind faith, and then not a lot of it's also going to take our leaders, really doing a better job of communicating, of, uh, providing people better information when, when they say things that are, are not as well-informed or aren't well researched or factual and, and really demonstrating doing things to demonstrate trust, and it's not going to happen immediately, right? Speaker 3: 34:02 Trust is built over time. And, and, and it's really going to take a lot of time for people to have more faith and, and w and unfortunately, because of the history of experimenting on people of color in the United States, uh, and even those who populations would benefit the most from the pandemic, because it had been affected more. Uh, there is a lot of people who are just very nervous about, uh, taking, uh, taking a vaccine and it not actually promising or delivering what it's supposed to, or even making things worse than they might already be. Right now. Speaker 4: 34:37 Carl want to come back to you on this next question, uh, from Sandy P any advice for having productive discussions with friends and family who are misinformed, Speaker 5: 34:46 Uh, avoid the issues. They're misinformed that develop trust with them and talk about things you can't agree with. And once you get people on a roll agreeing with you, it's easier to re circle back to some of the problem areas, problematic areas, bottom line. If you get into confrontation over these things, it's just not going to play out. It's kind of like over your Thanksgiving dinner table, what will, how do you talk about politics? You don't know where to divided right now as a society. It's, we're going to need the next six months just to recover from the stress of COVID and the Trump years and the election and all the rest. Sometimes spring, summer, fall, maybe then we can start going, Hey, you know, people started to wear masks COVID cases, went down, not the vaccine, people stopped dying. And then, uh, what would, uh, what was the old line from the Schopenhauer truth is first ridicule, then violently suppressed that it's accepted as intuitively obvious that we need to get to the other side of this to get, to get through the obvious news of the science.

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A fundamental part of maintaining our democracy is for citizens to have faith in it. That has been eroding among sections of the public. Last week, KPBS conducted a community forum on the subject: “Keeping Our Democracy: What Now?” The discussion touches on the subjects of inclusion and the obstacles to building trust in our system.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments