Take the Other to Lunch

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Republican Al Quie, former Governor Minnesota

Two days before Thanksgiving, I called Al Quie the former governor of Minnesota at the recommendation of my colleague Harry Boyte, who suggested I’d see connections in our interests.

This was shortly after an epiphany of sorts hit me. I’d come to believe that if our country and communities like mine were to survive, we’d have to stop battling brutally over the solutions and start making them happen, together.

To my surprise, Governor Quie answered my call and suggested we meet the next day.  He told me to just pick a spot and he’d show up.  I chose one of my favorite coffee shops, a bookish place with lattes and scones.  Our talk that day was remarkable.

Here was a tireless Republican statesman meeting with me, a fledgling civic leader—a Democrat, no less. We met several times since then.  Often at one of a chain of circa 70s restaurants he likes that has cheap coffee and good pie.

I recently saw the Governor again at a talk featuring three leading Republicans and three leading Democrats. Quie didn’t speak but when the moderator pointed him out in the audience, he was given a heartfelt—and fully bipartisan—ovation.

It brought to mind how Quie persistently pushed me—as I imagine he has others—to engage equally people representative of different views in my work.  Governor Quie’s challenge resulted in many stimulating dialogues.  Including another remarkable restaurant meeting.

This time Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and I shared lunch with a local executive from my community who was building his GOP senate campaign.  The provocative discussion we shared centered on the power of productive relationships we can develop by setting aside respective party stereotypes.

All of this came home for me when I viewed this video. In it, Elizabeth Lesser makes a case for how two opposite ideologies can be harnessed to elevate both.

To start she offers one simple suggestion — Take the “Other” to Lunch.

So, how about it?  Are you in? If so, let me know.  I’d like to report back to Governor Quie that many are following his lead!

 Andrea Morisette Grazzini, Founder DynamicShift

3 Comments

  1. Mark Ritchie
    Posted 9 Mar ’11 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Great motivation to keep the dialogues going! Thank you for bringing the TED video “Take the Other to Lunch” to my attention – it was fantastic! Mark Ritchie

  2. Posted 11 Mar ’11 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Cool site Andrea, wonderful idea.

    We do much common ground finding and communicating constructively with OTHERS, probably more than most think tanks or policy advocacy groups. Just this week we endorsed a concept, Human Capital Performance Bonds, sponsored by two conservative Republican legislators, and which also enjoys the backing of key DFL legislators and foundations.

    And of course you know we co-sponsored a very ecumenical event recently celebrating the centennial of the births of Hubert Humphrey and Ronald Reagan, with five other highly disparate groups. I personally enjoy and relish high-road dialogue with people and groups who disagree with us on philosophy and policy.

    Dane Smith
    President of Growth and Justice

  3. Posted 12 Mar ’11 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Andrea,
    Sounds like a great meeting with Al Quie, and it is nice to see someone interested in “lifting all boats”. Thanks for including me in your correspondance. Sorry I missed the event earlier (Heatherlynn/Jason are terrific). Catch up with you in the near future. Have a great weekend.
    JB
    Tee It Up For The Troops/Founder-Past President

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