Around 200 University of Michigan and Ann Arbor community members gathered in Weill Hall this past Presidents’ Day for a continuation of the Conversations Across Difference speaker series. This iteration, titled “Voices from Across the Aisle,” moderated by Professor Brendan Nyhan, featured U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton discussing candidly the necessity of bipartisan politics.
The event was co-sponsored by the Program in Practical Policy Engagement and student organization WeListen, which regularly hosts discussion sessions meant to bridge political divides. Democrat Debbie Dingell made mention of her late husband, Rep. John Dingell’s, legacy of bipartisan cooperation. Referenced in WDIV Channel 4’s coverage of the event, Dingell stated “John Dingell would always say this, 'You've got two ears and one mouth for a reason, use those ears to listen, to understand other people's perspective.’”
Dean Michael Barr echoed that sentiment in his own address to the attendees, quoted in The Michigan Daily’s synopsis saying “As you well know, these are extremely challenging times for our nation with fractious political discourse, gridlock and partisanship in our nation’s capital, and an increasing lack of trust in institution everywhere,” continuing, “The relationship between Representatives Dingell and Upton is the antithesis of partisan politics operating today in Washington.”