In his new book “Them: Why We Hate Each Other – and How to Heal,” Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska writes of the many issues dividing Americans and the need for vigorous and passionate debate on each and every one. But, he says, there is no need for shrieking and we mustn’t let calls for civility – however much it is needed – to “water down the debates in the interest of some halfhearted truce.”
Instead, he proposes a more sensible path: “What is needed is for people from both sides to agree that political and policy divides are not our primary identities or our primary divides. As Americans, we need to agree first on the universal dignity of all people, before we descend to the more divisive but less important debates about the prudential use of the levers of government power.”
That’s a perfect way to introduce Broad + Liberty, an online opinion site where the Philadelphia region’s issues, policies and ideas intersect with the values and principles that guided the founders when they began the great American experiment at Sixth and Chestnut.
Our site’s focal point will be Southeast Pennsylvania, but we’ll also watch what’s happening in Harrisburg and Washington. The issues that hit closest to home – education and taxes, gun violence and health care, the opioid epidemic and free speech on campus – are being debated in every corner of the nation, so we’ll offer voices from near and far on these topics and others.
We expect there will be disagreement. Among ourselves. Among our contributors. Among our writers and our readers. Or even what you see on this site versus what other local opinion spaces are offering. But the point is not to bludgeon or build walls through neighborhoods with “Hate Has No Home Here” yard signs on one side on the block and “Love Lives Here” on the other. Instead, we hope to match Sasse’s sensible call to debate passionately without being disagreeable. After all, one thing we can all agree on is that we are better than our current politics.
Accordingly, Broad + Liberty strives to improve our politics by improving our civic dialogue, beginning with the local. We will provoke thought, challenge ideological assumptions, and offer a perspective on the issues that matter most unlike any other outlet in the region. There are many different viewpoints out there, and people you disagree with aren’t the enemy. Expect to be challenged. Engage where you can. And keep in mind that you could be wrong. Above all, respect the universal dignity of all people.
Welcome, then, to Broad + Liberty. And, please, keep coming back. Sign up for our email alerts. Subscribe or donate as you can — we’re a nonprofit so your support makes a difference. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us op-eds to consider, and let us know how we’re doing.
Thank you for visiting and please share our site.
Albert Eisenberg, Kevin Ferris, Linda A. Kerns, Colleen Sheehan and Terry Tracy
Broad and Liberty, Inc. is a Pennsylvania Domestic Nonprofit Corporation classified as a public charity under Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c) (3).