Civics for the Brave and the Free

Civics includes the study and practice of the rights and duties of citizenship. Civics is much about the things we do which affects our fellow citizens. Is there civics teaching in a school near you?

It is useful to remember that civility is an important part of effective civics and politics.

We can benefit and profit by learning>                                                                                             ~ More of “civility.”                                                                                                                                ~ some collaborative leadership.                                                                                                        ~ about consensus building.                                                                                                                ~ a deeper level of tolerance.                                                                                                                ~ about sources of conflict.                                                                                                                  ~ how people who are fundamentally different from one another can develop sensitivities that will enable us to get along with a person different from us.

We are at our best when we>                                                                                                              ~ are listening.                                                                                                                                        ~ are working in partnership with others.                                                                                      ~ lead by example.                                                                                                                                ~ have the courage to be appropriately humble.

Learn, educate yourself, find out what others have to say, organize, plan, act.

We have a lot to learn. An old aunt of mine used to say that by beginning we are half way there. Once one begins one does one’s best to keep on keeping on.

Civics? Try it where you live.


by Richard Sheehan                                                                                                                              for Mago Bill






Dialogue Practice Notes

Dialogue Practice is not a:
~ place to make a particular point prevail.
~ debate or discussion.
~ an attempt to gain points.
~ game to win or lose.

A dialogue practice group is a way:
~ to an activity which helps us to be us.
~ through the meaning of word.
~ to an honest supportive activity.
~ to greater awareness and enhanced consciousness.
~ to hone your listening skills.
~ to develop new speaking skills.
~ to practice effective methods of communicating.
~ to cultural preservation, growth, and creativity.
~ of making a healthy effective society more probable.
~ To meet interesting people in an interesting environment.
~ Of putting honest thoughts on the table where we can look at them and begin to find their meaning.
~ of finding pleasure in speaking up.
~ to understanding among us and within us.
~ to satisfying relationships.
~ to exchange idea and opinion.
~ to share experience.
~ to more effective communication outside the group.
~ to practice a “second” language.
~ to peace and good-will.
~ for us to see our words as gifts.
~ to keep a stream of meaning flowing among us.

According to David Bohm, dialogue practice is:
~ participating in a flow of meaning between us, through us, and among us.
~ an activity out of which emerges new and renewed understanding.
~ an activity which helps us to be us.

by Richard Sheehan
for Mago Bill

Let’s Have a Party

Or, let’s have a platform. Or, let’s have a plank. “A Party” sounds more attractive, but I have reason to consider a plank first

The kind of plank I am considering is political. It is the name given to fundamental parts of a political platform. Political party platforms are made up of planks. This kind of plank does not come from a lumbar yard. but rather from the minds of men and women. We can shape one, or more planks.

Most of us have some ideas about the nature of a political party. Historically each person running for political office usually has a platform much like the platform of his party. So, we may consider that a platform is what a person running for political office stood on and, perhaps for. In Great Britain, I believe, one stood for office rather than running for it as one does in the USA. A platform was once more often about  one stood for rather than on. A party and its platform may be much about wants, interests, needs, desires, values, and even philosophy of citizens, th men and women of the nation.

So, parties can have platforms. An important part of those platforms are its planks. Each plank is likely to represent a specific want, need, value of citizens.

Now I am less interested in specific candidates, and even parties and much more interested in the specifics of the platform they stand on. The specifics are best found in the planks.

So we can be  in our platforms and the planks of those platforms.  We can be interested in the nature of specific planks we can be proud to stand for. We need to be practically aware of our fellow citizens. We can work to polish solid planks to see implemented among the people of our nation.

We can continue work on planks which  represent real and specific values and needs to present to our fellows in highly understandable and attractive ways.

We can practice justice and honesty as we form some great planks. With those great planks we can form a great platform. On that great platform we can learn to stand a great (new) party. A party to be proud of entails constant, renewal, reform, update, and cleaning. It’s a lot of work and there are a lot of us.

Haven forbid that other parties copy planks we present.


by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill





My first post and I find that I am unable to guess how to use WordPress “categories.” In the publishing aids column I see that I can add a new category. I’ll add “Dialogue.”

Usually when I speak about dialogue I am talking about a special dialogue practiced by relatively few. Here in Colombia there are a few that hoped it would be a part of their “Dialogue For Peace.” Elsewhere it has been called an excellent listening practice. I’ll eat and then write a bit about the practice of this ‘dialogue.’ I haven’t eaten yet, but I do have some vegetables and chicken cooking. Let’s see if I can get this post cooking.

Dialogue, as I use the term here, is about the way members of a practice group use spoken language to safely share varied perspectives, attitudes, opinions, experiences, and assumptions with fidelity. There are a lot of rules to practice, several important ones have to do with listening.

This sharing is done in a way to help one to understand another’s way of seeing. It is designed to be a peaceful way to understanding and meaning. Some have thought it notably like a way of “fair fighting” taught by some psychologists to married couples having  some difficult issues. However, this dialogue is for larger groups.

A practice group called Magic Table Dialogue reminded us that each bit of speech in these dialogue practice groups may be found to be lasting gifts of the speakers to the listeners. This kind of speech which we simply call dialogue is becoming a way to look deeply at assumptions and to see them with respect and understanding.

My intention is to continue posting about this useful dialogue practice here on Mago Bill.I am just now remembering that all of our practice in developing this dialogue method has been in face to face situations. While here I do not see your face or even have a notion of your identity or avatar. I have no idea of how this practice may be done online!

I would very much like to hear from you. There must be a way to comment here on the site.

I hope to write more about dialogue, prehistory, governance, etc.

I have eaten a feel better. Even though the veggies were only potatoes, onions, and tomatoes, they were really delicious.

Please tell what you think about the font, paragraphing, etc. I am not completely new to blogging, but this is my first effort on WordPress. So I can use, with great gratitude, any suggestions about layout of this blog platform or how I am using it.

Thank you for reading my first post here!



by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill