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Welcome to Across Talk!

Renew America Together is excited to re-introduce our readers to Across Talk, our monthly videocast! Hosted by Lincoln Zaleski, our resident disinformation specialist, Across Talk brings young researchers and professionals to talk about bipartisanship, disinformation, and civility. Thus far, Across Talk has covered topics from learning from Northern Irish models of democracy to bipartisan online forums to discuss policy issues to fighting disinformation with a team of college students.

After five episodes, Across Talk has grown in popularity and allows research from the oft-inaccessible “ivory tower” of academia to reach the public. It provides a space for the next generation of policymakers to promote their solutions to America’s largest problems. Most importantly, Across Talk cuts to the heart of Renew America Together’s mission in bringing together those with different backgrounds, holding a civil conversation, and showing that common ground exists for every group of people.

The final question of Across Talk is always the same: Who is a political figure, past or present, that you admire? We ask this question to see who young professionals seek to emulate as they think about changing the world through the policy and research that they generate. Of the six contributors to Across Talk, we have received a powerful group of influential figures, from Abraham Lincoln to Maya Angelou to Ruth Bader Ginsburg to John McCain. If the next generation has role models as bipartisan and respectable as these, America has a lot to look forward to in its future policymakers.

Ultimately, Across Talk promotes Renew America Together’s values of civil dialogue, education, and bipartisanship by allowing the next generation to make their voices and hard work heard. We look forward to producing more episodes with excited young professionals and hope that you will tune in to see what these incredible individuals have to say. The sixth episode of Across Talk will be released in August, but feel free to watch our previous videos on Renew America Together’s YouTube page, linked here.


Belmont University to Host Conversation with Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.), Former Governor Mike Huckabee

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley K. Clark (ret.) and Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee will share a conversation on Belmont’s campus about civility and important issues facing America on Monday, January 13, 2020. Clark, a retired four-star U.S. Army general and 2004 Presidential candidate, is appearing on campus as part of his “Renew America Together” initiative. Huckabee, who will join Clark in the discussion, was a candidate in the United States Republican presidential primaries in both 2008 and 2016. Longtime journalist Demetria Kalodimos will moderate.

The event, which will begin at 6 p.m. in the R. Milton and Denice Johnson Center Large Theater (no. 10 on the campus map), is free and open to the public. To reserve a seat, please email belmontevent@belmont.edu.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said he wants the University to be a hub for people to come together to debate issues on civil and neutral ground. “We are excited for another banner year of educational opportunities on campus for students and the broader Middle Tennessee community, starting with this conversation on civility,” he said. “It’s rare to have such an opportunity to be on the front lines of all of the critical issues facing our nation and the world, and we intend to take full advantage of this opportunity for beneficial and engaging experiences.”

In the spirit of the United States Constitution’s language to “promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty,” this event invites the community to listen as a Democratic and a Republican leader host a constructive dialogue in the midst of today’s era of hyper partisanship.

Clark said, “I believe the American people are far less divided than the media suggest, but we have to drive our politics toward common aims rather than divisive issues.”

Huckabee said, “We are indeed a deeply divided and polarized nation at the highest levels of government, but it’s not as uncommon as many would think. Our nation’s founders were deeply divided, as well. I believe the key will be found in the states, not the federal government.”

Renew America Together was created to promote and achieve greater common ground in America by reducing partisan division and gridlock. The non-profit is hosting events at venues across the country, including New England College, Lyon College, the Universities of Pennsylvania and Virginia, Grand Valley State University and the World Affairs Councils of New Hampshire and Hilton Head in 2019.

The mission of Renew America Together is “to revitalize public and political discourse by teaching and promoting civics, citizenship and civility.” To learn more, visit www.renewamericatogether.org.

On the Debates…

On Wednesday and Thursday at the NBC-hosted debates in Miami, the Democratic candidates for President will be at their best – in the head-to-head contest to publicize their biographies and policy proposals, to distinguish themselves from others seeking the nomination and above all to win public acclaim!  They will especially seek the “viral moments,” the quick ripostes, the put-downs, and the “gotchas” that have made previous debates so memorable. 

But will they touch on the big issues that keep Americans up at night, or should?

The endless war on terrorism; the ubiquitous spread of social media, the disappearance of privacy and the spread of fake news; the perils of a debt-fueled economy; tensions with China; and perhaps the most urgent, climate change.

You don’t need to be a Democrat or a Republican to know that these are pressing issues, and that we are all in it together.

That’s why I’ve formed Renew America Together. We’re looking at the election process as a whole – how we pick our leaders in a competitive slug-fest that has huge implications not only for the United States but for the whole world.  While the candidates may mostly talk about “bread and butter” issues – like health care, jobs and wages, education, the rest of the world is asking: who will be the most reliable leader for NATO; who will stand up for the billions worldwide who seek a better life and look to the values and image of America as their best hope; who can best lead humanity to deal with the enormous challenges of the 21st Century?  

We hope the American public and our electorate can see through the spectacle of so many well-qualified and distinguished men and women on stage, pitted against each other and the moderators, to understand the more significant issues at play.  

The United States is the world’s premier democracy and has been on a 70-year pedestal of admiration from friends and attack by potential adversaries. However, today all over the world, people are asking, “is democracy the right system to bring humankind forward in the 21st century?”

They are asking- can voters, the average American, understand the difficult choices that run beyond personalities and incumbencies, that take decades to play out? Can Americans pick the right leaders?  Can Americans support wise policies? Can Americans rise beyond narrow self-interest?  

The challenges are manifold:  

-After almost twenty years, the United States is still at war with terrorists, with hundreds of thousands of troops deployed abroad.  Do we have the right policies and instruments to deal with this challenge?

-The internet and smartphones have made the world so small, and technology is still advancing rapidly – into 5G, and facial recognition, crypto-currencies, social media, artificial intelligence, fake news…how do we capture the benefits of advancing technology without sacrificing our privacy, our security, our economy and the very essence of our humanity

– The economy has continued to grow, but it is perilously fueled by debt, and the distribution of wealth and income has grown increasingly inequitable. Big companies get bigger, start-ups and innovators are often smothered, and the great visions, like those which government has in the past supported – the interstate highway system, the space program – seem increasingly unattainable. Americans and foreign visitors alike ask, why can’t America fix its bridges, tunnels, and airports? How will America address, its endemic poverty, failing health care and public education systems, and combat systematic racial discrimination?

– China is moving to dominate the world economy and creating new institutions to replace those America created in our image some seventy years ago. How can America handle a country with four times the population, two or three times the annual growth rate, bustling with ambition, and supercharged with determination to reclaim its historic role as the most advanced and wealthiest of nations? Will it lead to war?

– And the most profound challenge of all: can we transition a 200-year-old dependence on carbon fuels into new energy sources which are sustainable and can lead us into a carbon neutral and even carbon negative environment to preserve the climate and ecosphere which has nurtured humanity for ten thousand years? How do we replace billions of automobiles and millions of trucks- changing the means of transportation, agriculture, power generation, industrial production?

For the American voters, and for humanity, we are hoping that the candidates will answer such questions as these, and demonstrate that in a democracy, men and women can still bring big dreams to life: a fairer, and more equitable society, more innovative, more sustainable, with freedom, opportunities, and justice for all.

NYT Opinion Article: “What Happens When Our Leaders Lack Moral Courage”

NYT Opinion Article: “What Happens When Our Leaders Lack Moral Courage”

General Wesley Clark was featured in an Opinion OpEd in The New York Times on May 23rd

Over the years, thousands of cadets at the United States Military Academy, myself included, have memorized and recited West Point’s Cadet Prayer. “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong,” the prayer goes, “and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice, and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”

The prayer describes the value of acting for good, and how moral authority is itself the deepest source of power. Cadets are taught that one’s values ought to be the primary reason to seek power, and its only justification for use. This is the essence of the “courage” described in the prayer, the courage that should be a part of every leader’s core.

But we as a nation and as leaders have not always demonstrated this courage. Two major events in my career illustrate when we acted for good with our values in mind, and when we did not.

Read the rest of the Article Here

AR Democrat Gazette: “Retired general Wesley Clark rules out ’20 run”

AR Democrat Gazette: “Retired general Wesley Clark rules out ’20 run”

By Frank E. Lockwood

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark plans to speak at college campuses “about the important issues facing America,” but he won’t be asking any of the students to vote for him.

In an interview, the retired four-star general said he won’t be running for office in 2020, despite entreaties from some Arkansas Democrats.

Read full article on Arkansas Online

Gen. Clark was honored on the 20th Anniversary of the start of Operation Allied Force at the Embassy of Kosovo

Gen. Clark was honored on the 20th Anniversary of the start of Operation Allied Force at the Embassy of Kosovo

March 24 was the 20th anniversary of the start of Operation Allied Force that saved 1.8 million Kosovar-Albanians from ethnic cleansing at the hands of Slobodan Milošević.   General K. Wesley Clark (ret.) was honored at a dinner with at the Kosovo Embassy in Washington. In attendance was current Kosovo Ambassador to US Vlora Çitaku.  Pictures are below.

Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.) Awarded Col. Ralph W. Hauenstein Fellowship Medal

Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.) Awarded Col. Ralph W. Hauenstein Fellowship Medal

Former Democratic candidate for president and four-star Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.) was awarded the Col. Ralph W. Hauenstein Fellowship Medal at a March 14 event hosted by the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. 

Clark received the award after speaking about the challenges of overcoming polarization in America. 

Clark served for nearly 40 years in the United States Army, including assignments as Commander of U.S. Southern Command and Commander of U.S. European Command/Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

The Hauenstein Fellowship Medal recognizes the extraordinary life of the center’s namesake, the late Ralph Hauenstein, and honors distinguished individuals who exemplify his spirit of leadership and service, which Grand Valley State University seeks to inspire in its students and graduates.

Previous recipients of the Col. Ralph W. Hauenstein Fellowship Medal include: President Gerald R. Ford (posthumously), Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State James A. Baker, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, Ambassador John Beyrle, President of Palau Tommy Remengesau, Admiral James M. Loy, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Carla Hills, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Penn Today: ‘The conversation America needs’

Penn Today: ‘The conversation America needs’

Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Wesley Clark, a retired four-star general of the U.S. Army, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who served as the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, joined the Penn Political Union in College Hall on Wednesday for a wide discussion.

Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Wesley Clark, a retired four-star general of the U.S. Army, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who served as the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, joined the Penn Political Union in College Hall on Wednesday for a wide discussion.

A Democrat and a Republican walk into College Hall

With the way the federal government has been operating—now in day 34 of the longest shutdown in history—this may seem like the start of a bad joke. 

But, in fact, this was reality on Wednesday evening, as two political leaders came together to talk reasonably about their differences, as well as commonalities, with a group of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and even folks from the broader Philadelphia community.

The event, hosted by the Penn Political Union (PPU), a nonpartisan student organization sponsored by the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy, featured former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Wesley Clark, a retired four-star general of the U.S. Army who ran as a Democrat for president in 2004, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican who served as the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Longtime political journalist Jessica Yellin skillfully moderated the two-hour conversation.

See The Whole Article here

WPSU: “Take Note: Retired Gen. Wesley Clark On His Efforts To Promote Civil Dialogue”

“A retired four-star general, 2004 presidential contender, author and commentator, Wesley Clark is now starting a nonpartisan organization. The goal of Renew America is to encourage people to find common ground by promoting public and political discourse.

WPSU’s Anne Danahy spoke with Clark about the organization, what he thinks needs to change in politics and how Americans can help make that happen.”
-Anne Danahy, WPSU

Listen to the interview here