A Civic Conversation: What does liberty mean in America today?

May 14, 2020

Please join us for the latest installment of our ‘Civic Conversations’  program series at the NHS

Drawing on history, current affairs and the state of the Nation, we will assemble to talk together, seriously and civilly, about an issue of concern. Is it true that we have lost the ability to listen to those with whom we disagree? That we no longer can debate ideas without attacking each other personally? That we have become so siloed in our interest groups, that we are no longer able to engage in the civil discourse that our democracy requires? We think not. Newport has been a place of conversation and debate, of dissent and disappointment for almost 400 years. What better place to practice talking about the things that matter? With the help of G. Wayne Miller and Jim Ludes of “Story in the Public Square” we will discuss the following question.

“What does liberty mean in America today?”

Even before we became a nation, ideas about liberty and freedom shaped both alliances and conflict in America.  Certainly, liberty became a foundational value, but it has never been uncomplicated. Roger Williams felt that we could all be free to practice the religion of our choice, if we also agreed that each of us could also be free from interference in our own beliefs. The conflict between individual liberty and collective responsibility has added another layer to the complexity through time. Freedom to own guns, freedom from being unjustly shot. Freedom to congregate, freedom from unnecessary risk. Freedom to subjugate, freedom from abuse and domination. Freedom to pursue wealth, freedom from want. These conflicts have played out in politics, law, society, and in our houses of worship. What do we mean when we say, “land of the free?”

We are hoping to assemble a diverse group of perspective-holding individuals to look at what has bound us together and pulled us apart, in history and today. Please bring your ears, your head and your heart to the conversation on Thursday, June 4, 2020 from 5—6:30pm virtually in Zoom.

You must register to attend, as spaces are limited. To RSVP please contact Heather Rockwood at hrockwood@newporthistory.org or call her at 401-846-0813 x110. If there are no spaces left, we can retain your contact information for the next event.