October 5, 2010 7:30 PM
Ignatius Program: Governing across the Divide
Our national discourse is becoming increasingly shrill. We are faced with complex economic, social, and foreign policy questions that need a safe atmosphere in which to explore solutions that will work for the long term. Partisan attacks have taken hold in Washington and throughout the country, and reasoned analysis is harder and harder to find.
Can we turn it around? What will it take to shift from accusation to reflection and purposeful debate? Can we find mutual respect that allows us to “govern across the divide?”
On the evening of Tuesday, October 5, as part of its commitment to present programs at the intersection of faith and public life, Washington National Cathedral hosted the 2010 Nancy and Paul Ignatius Program. This year’s program featured David Axelrod, senior advisor to President Barack Obama, and Joshua Bolten, chief of staff to former President George W. Bush. Historian Michael Beschloss provided a reflection following the main dialogue featuring CBS anchor Bob Schieffer as moderator. Knowing firsthand how intense the political climate can get, Axelrod and Bolten shared a sense of how and why Washington has become so divisive and how we might return some civility and cooperation to the discourse.
Also participating, Senator Susan Collins (R-Me.) and the Rev. Barry C. Black, chaplain of the Senate, provided insight from their experience in the Senate; and historian Michael Beschloss put the current state of affairs into an historical context.
The Nancy and Paul Ignatius Program was created in recognition of Nancy and Paul’s service and commitment to Washington National Cathedral. It is made possible by a fund established by Nancy and Paul’s children, their friends, and other relatives to honor Nancy and Paul’s determination to take on the hard questions we all face. Last year’s program addressed deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and featured Senator John Kerry, author Rory Stewart, and Pakistani Ambassador Hussain Haqqani. The 2008 program focused on the future of American foreign policy, through the reflections of two of its masters, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski.