National Conversation Launched to Revitalize America’s Civic Culture

On January 17, 2011, there will be a “National Conversation” held in cyberspace entitled 'It's Time For a Talk.'

Online PR News – 25-November-2010 – – New York, NY----Scot Faulkner, newly named as first Executive Director of The Dreyfuss Initiative, and Richard Dreyfuss have released the following statement:

On January 17, 2011, there will be a “National Conversation” held in cyberspace entitled 'It's Time For a Talk.' This will be the first real-time simulcast, covered by C-SPAN, which will allow a true two way street of discussion about an urgent issue that requires immediate attention and thought by citizens and office-holders alike.

The Talk will begin with one question: "Are you comfortable, confident and at ease, or uncomfortable and uneasy, when you think of the future of the Nation in 30 years?"

The straw poll answer is 100% Uneasy.

When Steve Zach, the President of the American Bar Association, announces that he is planning to send lawyers into the public schools to teach civics, or when Justices O'Connor and Souter devote their post-Court careers speaking all over the country to the urgent need of teaching civics to our children – it’s time to start paying attention.

What is civics that makes it so important? It is the knowledge of, and effective use of, the tools of political power; of how to maintain and comprehend this Democracy.

The consequences of Civics Untaught are far-reaching and fatal to our nation. Are you content with the idea that 'we can't afford' to educate our young to a realistic knowledge of practical political power?

The clock that we are under is tracking the time it takes to turn an inert, uncurious, unquestioning work force into an intellectually agile, creative and committed citizenry.

The Conversation that starts on January 17th by the center “grown up organizations” like the ABA and the PTA, who will be extending invitations to both political parties to participate, because they have been the ones who have been in the driver's seat of our country. It's time for them to take some questions and comments, and for Republicans and Democrats not to ask for money but how to bring civics back. Civics is not only non-partisan, but pre-partisan, and it’s reasonable to say that either party that hesitates in participating in the Talk, or is unwilling to support making our kids excellent at running the country for real, can be seen as making civics a partisan issue, which it is definitively NOT.

All of our young need the skills of civic training as all drivers need to learn how to drive a car. All that we accomplish when we accept so easily notions like ‘running the country is not a necessity’, is to unveil a contempt of responsibility for our children; and a lack of revelry for the miracle that this Nation is based on. Outlined in the Founding documents, we show a respect for mankind unheard of in the 13,000 years of human civilization. This magnificent experiment in human dignity will be defeated by no foreign power, but by our own apathy.

We deeply feel this current ‘disconnect with history and a duty to no one’ and institutional unwillingness to pay for maintenance and improvements to our civic infrastructure to compete internationally. Because of our cultural addiction to instant gratification we have become unable to entertain endeavors beyond the next news cycle, and re-designing education will take far longer. We choose not to fear the depth of disconnection, inadequate education and a common senselessness in America, not to grow numb to its consequences, but rather to act with urgency. We ask the same of you.

The organizations that are participating in this event are: The American Bar Association, the National PTA, The Dreyfuss Initiative, The Grauer School, San Diego Rotary and, Vote iQ with endorsements from the National Association of Secondary School Principles and Superintendents, The Girl Scouts of America, and others.

About The Dreyfuss Initiative
The Dreyfuss Initiative (TDI) was conceived in 2003 from the passion of award-winning actor and American activist, Richard Dreyfuss, who has lent his name to the cause. TDI’s highly skilled team and dedicated Board of Directors work as a non-partisan, non-profit entity whose mission and vision is a nationwide effort to revive an enhanced study of the prepartisan tools of civic expertise necessary to comprehend and maintain U.S. democracy. As a result of thousands of donated hours by Dreyfuss and other volunteers, TDI was recognized in 2010 as a 501 (c) (3) public benefit organization. TDI encourages participation from all groups throughout the country and welcomes tax deductible charitable contributions to advance its mission.