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Health Care town hall without the shouting

We’re doing something we haven’t done before at our next Community Conversation — doubling back and repeating a topic.

We might have been a little premature when we invited readers to come talk about health care over two nights last year.

The issue seems a lot riper for picking about now.

Every few months, the Tri-City Herald partners with the Benton Franklin Dispute Resolution Center to sponsor a Community Conversation.

We try to pick a controversial topic, but the moderator provided by the dispute resolution center and the ground rules that participants agree to prevent the conversation from turning into a shouting match.

In fact, the format virtually guarantees everyone gets a chance to be heard, and everyone has the opportunity to learn a lot more about the other side of the debate.

We think that’s good for democracy.

Think of it as a grown-up alternative to the shouting matches that pass for political debate today. Or an antidote to the vitriolic clamor that’s designed not to persuade but to energize a base that’s already convinced.

Our next conversation is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 27 and 28. Participants must commit to attend both nights.

Send a 25-word or less description of why you want to join the conversation on health care, along with your name, address and phone number to forum@tricityherald.com or call Shelly Norman at 582-1470. Deadline to apply is Oct. 23.

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