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Political opponents to shut pals: Joe Walsh and Fred Guttenberg combat for civil discourse 

Workers Reporter

After publicly disagreeing on numerous social and political points, former Republican congressman Joe Walsh and parent-turned-gun management advocate Fred Guttenberg have teamed up for a talking tour on civil discourse. 

Guttenberg’s daughter was killed within the 2018 Parkland college capturing. Within the time after, Guttenberg and Walsh had a litany of disagreements surrounding gun management laws. 

On Feb. 21, the duo kicked off their talking tour on the college via the Stavros Niarchos Basis (SNF) Ithaca Initiative, a civil discourse pilot program that goals to encourage college students to attach and work collectively to develop coverage options. 

Walsh and Guttenberg began their caustic relationship on X, previously often called Twitter, over 5 years in the past after the Parkland college shootings, with private assaults and arguments over their differing views on gun coverage.  

“We actually went after one another,” Walsh mentioned on the occasion. “5 years in the past, Fred and I have been doing what most of America is doing now.” 

Ethan Grandin/THE REVIEW

Then, Guttenberg created an initiative that he needed political figures to signal, pledging that they might stand towards gun violence. Walsh reached out, and the 2 realized that they’d extra frequent floor than they initially thought, with Walsh being the primary to signal Guttenberg’s petition. 

“We took our conversations offline, and by speaking, not preventing, we discovered areas of gun violence that we agreed on,” Walsh mentioned throughout the discuss. 

Taking their discourse out of the general public eye labored to carry them collectively, however they realized that they wanted to display to others that respectful disagreement is feasible, even between individuals on reverse sides of the political spectrum. 

“It mentioned so much when these two knuckleheads went on nationwide TV to attempt to do one thing about gun violence and have been prepared to place their names on the identical piece of paper,” Walsh mentioned throughout the occasion. 

Throughout her introduction, Valerie Biden Owens, chair of the Biden Institute, expanded on the significance of Walsh and Guttenberg demonstrating how they discovered frequent floor to a public viewers. 

“These two are modeling tips on how to respectfully have a dialogue with whom you disagree,” Owens mentioned. “We have to equip the following technology with abilities to deal with divisive points within the public sq..” 

Each Walsh and Guttenberg additionally pressured the significance of getting younger individuals out to the polls later this yr and having respectful disagreements with their friends.  

Ethan Grandin/THE REVIEW

“Hate will get media protection, and that’s not the place we needs to be as a rustic,” Guttenberg mentioned throughout the discuss. “The vast majority of us must see that it’s OK to have actual conversations and are available out and vote towards hatred.”

Walsh emphasised that the U.S. democracy will likely be shaky if residents don’t discover ways to respectfully disagree, saying that when individuals exit to the polls later this yr, they should vote towards hate.

“Democracy wants us to disagree, and democracy wants us to have inherently totally different views,” Timothy Shaffer, director of the SNF Ithaca Initiative, mentioned. “However we’d like areas for these views to be expressed and revered.” 

Walsh and Guttenberg demonstrated to eventgoers how they will begin respectful conversations with these they’ve disagreements with and the way they will discover frequent floor with these they disagree with essentially the most. 

“It’s straightforward to speak to individuals if you agree, but it surely’s needed and necessary to search out frequent floor with these you don’t,” Guttenberg mentioned on the occasion. “That’s how change occurs.”