August 04, 2020
Written By: Anna Hays
The days of classic supper time etiquette feel long gone amidst the current public climate. The prevalence of social media in daily life, the 24-hour news cycle – safe pillars of small talk and friendly conversation can often feel like a trap when you don’t know the opinion of your neighbor, friend, or colleague. It’s no longer enough to say, “no politics or religion at the dinner table!”
A need exists for a safe harbor to understand the issues and players in the game without feeling like your opinion does not belong.
Continued polarization and politicization of current events creates a barrier restricting dialogue and civil discourse in our communities. It’s more difficult now than ever to take the initiative and dig deeply into topics of local interest for fear of putting yourself in a compromising position when asked about the daily headline. How could anyone feel comfortable stepping forward to articulate a question?
The community only benefits from increased opportunities to engage in constructive dialogue around current events. To provide a place for government leaders to speak with an engaged audience, Elevate Rapid City will be launching a pilot series: The Elevate Government Affairs Connection.
Though the pilot series will debut virtually, the eventual monthly breakfast forum will feature local leaders and elected officials to discuss the region’s pressing issues. For instance: the onset, recovery, and future projections of COVID-19 has evened the playing field throughout the Black Hills community to beg one collective question: How are we going to get through this?
Historically the Chamber of Commerce connected business members and congressional offices each month through the Governmental Affairs Committee. It was a consistent way for members to gather and hear regular updates, and also witness discussions across all levels of government. The success of these briefings led to the creation of this monthly series to welcome more interested members of the community at large.
Find your space (or avoid the landmines) in today’s public discussion by stepping forward to seek out what you need to know. Everyone has a right to their opinion, so at least make yours informed.