Brown Man in Search of Democracy

Rights, Slights and Free Lunches

Who wants democracy anyway? And does anyone really care that they live in a democratic state?

A few weeks ago, I asked three friendly Filipino women on an elevator, what they thought of President Duterte. Beaming, they said he was the best thing to have happened to their country. They got off before I could ask about his threat to kill and dump all “drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings” into Manila Bay and “fatten all the fish there”. Their admiration reminded me of many Indians who, too, seem equally unperturbed by the current dispensation’s attacks on beef eaters, dissenters and its moral policing. This is much like Trump supporters’ blithe response to his claim that he “could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and [not] lose voters”.

Growing up in the seventies in the world’s largest democracy, I too, like many millions of fellow…

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Session 1.0–Wynkoop

On January 31st, 2012 the first session of The Pub Dialogues was held at the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver, CO.

Mark Loye of JeffCo Mediation Services led the group discussion, and OvalOptions facilitators were stationed at each table.

Participants engaged in discussions about a central theme: “Where Should Your Tax Money Go?  Tax R.O.I.–Stadiums, Stages and Students”.   Lively discussion followed. Participants were willing to speak their mind while OvalOptions facilitators helped them listen to others. Concerns were shared and new ideas cultivated.

With 94% of comment cards returned, all were positive, with the exception of time limitations and traffic. Every participant had a great time, even those who were “dragged” by friends or spouses to the event.  They ended up having fun and expressed excitement at the methods used by OvalOptions, the discussions in which they were engaged, and for future sessions.

With very special thanks to the Wynkoop, The Pub Dialogues will continue. In an effort to involve more neighborhoods, the next session is tentatively scheduled in mid-March at Vine Street Pub.

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The Pub Dialogues

The Pub Dialogues is a somewhat-monthly public engagement series that brings people out of the chat rooms and into neighborhood pubs to discuss with one another various and important topics.  Presented by OvalOptions (, a conflict management firm based in Denver, CO.

These sessions allow people with different, and possibly opposing viewpoints, to:

  • Actually meet
  • Engage in face-to-face discussion
  • Disagree in civil fashion
  • Better understand perspectives
  • Learn more about topics at hand
  • Collectively tackle issues in order to be better prepared to find solutions and progress

Experienced facilitators from OvalOptions will assist groups in discussing each topic. They will encourage participation, allow each participant to speak, and capture main points, issues, concerns and ideas.

Why the pub?  In the spirit of “Cheers”, the popular sitcom of the 1980s, the pub is where ‘everybody knows your name’.  It is a place where people can gather in a relaxed and somewhat uninhibited atmosphere.  The pub is a local business, and in Denver these pubs serve exceptional craft beer–the social lubricant.  People from all backgrounds go to the pub; they have for centuries to discuss social, governmental, religious, cultural, scientific, philosophic, and personal issues. To share personal success, seek comfort from the Blues, tell stories of adventure and failure, and meet new friends.

These events are FREE of charge to all ages (21 to drink).  Please drink responsibly!