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The Follow-Up Question

Oct 31, 2022

In this episode, I’m bringing the political field of vision down to the local level, where honestly, I believe we’re more likely to enact significant change. Because at the local level, we have more ability to effect said change. There’s more within our control. We’re closer to the problems, and we're closer to the solutions.


This mentality is at the heart of what my guest on this episode does for a living. Martin Carcasson started the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University, where, among many things, he helps train students to facilitate and run public meetings.


As you’ll hear Martin explain, democracy is hard. Not impossible, but incredibly difficult, especially when we focus on issues that take us further away from our communities and the people around us.


The idea of an engaged citizen — one that does their research, studies the issues at hand, and then votes based on a collection of this data — is unfortunately outdated at best, and entirely unrealistic, Martin says. 


Instead, Martin advocates for us to aspire to something he calls the “wise collaborator,” a mindset that plays out at the local level where real people can affect real change by coming together not as partisan enemies, but as neighborly collaborators.


At a time where there are so many conflict entrepreneurs making money off our tendency to tribalize at the national level, Martin hopes to push back against these democracy undermining actors by getting people to understand that we have shared problems, and that it is these problems that are wicked, not the people.


Check out the Center for Public Deliberation at, and connect with Martin at