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ENEWS: Democracy & Civic Engagement

Date Published: 10/22/2020

Author: Erin Wilson

A historical perspective on the upcoming election 

As we approach November 3rd, it’s intriguing to compare today’s political environment to the attitudes and energy surrounding an election in an era of similar great political tension and racial justice movements. Here’s a look at the election of 1860, just before the Civil War began. This story from HISTORY.com and a video talk from presidential historian Richard Norton Smith lay out the context and events surrounding what the article calls “one of the most pivotal presidential elections in American history." The story covers some of President Abraham Lincoln’s political history, political divisions over slavery, the presidential campaign, and how people reacted to the election results. Others who have drawn ties from the 2020 election to the 1860 election include Congressperson James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, who compared the stakes of the two elections in an appearance at a Pennsylvania Democratic Party event in August.  

Voting guides for the election 

We know our Growth & Justice readers are pretty well informed on election guidance, but given the chaos of this election season, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or get distracted. Just to lay it all out in front of you, here are some comprehensive voting guides and resources. Please encourage everyone to Get Out the Vote:  

Oct 28 Blueprint Breakfast on Democracy & the Future of Work with Kevin Lindsey, CEO of MN Humanities Commission  

The final Blueprint Breakfast in the current Recipes for Success series will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, October 28 from 8 to 8:30 a.m. The topic is democracy and the future of work, and Kevin Lindsey will join us as a guest speaker. Mr. Lindsey is a Growth & Justice board member and the CEO of the Minnesota Humanities Center. In his current role and as an attorney and former commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, he has been committed for nearly 30 years to creating a more inclusive community and society where all individuals can meaningfully participate in our democracy and achieve their vision of happiness and the American dream. We’ll be making patriotic yogurt breakfast parfaits with red and blue berries as a recipe theme in advance of Election Day. If you’d like to register for the free Oct. 28 event or read more, you can do so here, and you can read the democracy and civic engagement section in the human capital chapter of our MN Equity Blueprint right here.  

Quote: 

“You’re going to see some amazing stuff emerge, some long-established institutions, like universities, disappear — and the nature of work, workplaces and the workforce be transformed….There is great potential here — if it is done right. The students get exposed to what is most new by way of innovation technologies and techniques. And the company engineers and executives get exposed to what is most enduring — civics, ethics, theories of justice, principles of democracy, notions of the public good, environmentalism and how to lead a life of purpose.” — Minnesotan Thomas Friedan on democracy & the future of work and education post-pandemic in his Oct. 20 NYT column


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