David Riordan (Part 3) – American Democracy Under Threat: A Data-driven Exploration of Our Political Culture and the Underlying Stories That Create It and Shape Our Future

David Riordan Future of Democracy

A frank, hard-hitting conversation with TV producer David Riordan about the dangers democracy faces in this country, the fact that we are in a state of transition whether we like it or not, and the power of shifting our narratives to create change and a sustainable future. David has long been fascinated by the power of story, and has set up Vital Signs of Democracy, a platform that tracks and analyzes the narratives told and reported in the U.S. today—narratives that are foundational to our culture, our culture wars, our politics, and our future. 

Is there hope for American democracy? The good news is that studies show 65-70% of the population actually agree on and support the core principles of democracy—so if we could shift our narrative to reflect the majority view, we might be okay. The other news is that neither democrats or republicans, MAGA conservatives or progressives, have stepped up to represent this majority. David explains that we urgently need an alternative narrative from what we have to move forward—and we all need to ask what kind of country we want America to be. Recorded November 16, 2022 (on the heels of the 2022 midterm elections).

“If you don’t like the story that’s driving you, you can change it.”

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 3

  • Mediation: asking both sides, what are you willing to live with? (01:18)
  • Why do democracies fail? (03:15)
  • The frailties of democracies and the susceptibility to demagogues (04:57)
  • Can post post-progressives sort out the conversation? (05:51)
  • Capitalism has blown through its own guardrails: historically when wealth is in the hands of as little as 0.5% of the people, violent change is coming (10:23)
  • The US is transitioning from a white-dominated culture to a multicultural population: can that kind of cultural transition happen peacefully? (13:42)
  • We need an alternative narrative, a stakeholder economy rather than capitalism’s winner-take-all approach that has 99.5% of the wealth consolidated in the hands of the very few (17:02) 
  • Creating a more generative approach to the distribution of wealth requires re-thinking the meaning of success (25:49) 
  • Rewarding people for putting money back into the system instead of for keeping it all to themselves (27:59)
  • What can one person do? Can the way we talk and the way we listen change things? (31:49)
  • We can vote, support candidates financially, and volunteer for a campaign: is this enough at this point in time? (36:09)
  • Vital Signs of Democracy is designed to answer the question, “Am I crazy to think our democracy is in extreme danger?” (41:56)
  • Do the 2022 midterm election results mean democracy is safe? (43:51)
  • What Vital Signs of Democracy can do for you (46:09)
  • Are you willing to move outside of your comfort zone and address the serious problems democracy faces? (49:54)

Resources & References – Part 3

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David Riordan Future of Democracy

David Riordan is a transmedia producer who has years of experience creating and producing documentary television series, interactive entertainment, and participatory AR/VR experiences. Before founding Story Studio, David was the Vice President of Media for Ken Wilber’s Integral Life, where he was responsible for strategic planning, talent development, and content and conference development. He was also the producer for Random 1, a documentary television series on A&E Networks and the Executive Producer for the award-winning documentary film Lost in Woonsocket.

Previously, David was the VP of Production at Time Warner Interactive, Disney Interactive, and Philips Media. He has won numerous awards from major interactive societies including seven Interactive Academy Awards. David also directed the documentary film The Future of Christianity, co-created Google Ocean on Google Earth, and directed the Ken Wilber Biography Project. David Riordan, Wikipedia. The Evolution of Intelligence: Storycatching the Now and Future.

Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell

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