Election 2016 Discussion Guide

“The path ahead, then, is dialogue among yourselves, […] dialogue with lay persons, dialogue with families, dialogue with society. I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly.”
– Pope Francis, 9/23/15

This election season is unlike any we have ever seen. With one candidate focused on spewing hateful rhetoric, it is crucial that we engage in civil dialogue about the issues of our time. One of the ways we can bridge the divides is to start the conversation not from a place of politics or party lines, but from our personal faith and values, issues that are important to us, and our concerns about—and hopes for—our communities. Together, our Spirit-filled network of justice-seekers can provide alternatives to the hateful and divisive rhetoric that we are seeing from candidates, in the media, and in our own communities.

During the 2016 Nuns on Bus tour in the heat of July, the sisters attended both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions where they engaged in “Lemonade Ministry,” offering ice cold lemonade to people walking by and asking them about their fears and hopes this election season.  Now, NETWORK is inviting you to dialogue, whether it is with strangers in front of your grocery store, friends and acquaintances over coffee or donuts in your place of worship, or with guests in your home before watching the presidential debates.

We hope these discussion questions help you engage in thoughtful, authentic dialogue about this election season and strengthen your sense of community with others too!

In this guide, you’ll read some of the questions we asked during our Nuns on the Bus trip and get some ideas of how to discuss them in your community.

Download as a PDF.

Discussion Questions

  • When was the first time you voted? What did it feel like?
  • Who in your family is difficult to talk to about politics, and why?
  • Why are civic engagement and voting important to you?
  • How do your faith and values inform your evaluation of candidates?
  • What worries you this election season? What gives you hope?
  • What would you like the presidential candidates to know about your community?
  • What have you heard from presidential candidates that you particularly liked or disliked?
Mending the Gaps
  • Read over NETWORK’s Mend the Gap policies. Which one or two gap issues concern you the most?
  • Share a story, either from your own personal experience, or that of a friend or family member, about being affected by one or more of the gaps.
  • How are these gaps affecting different parts of your community? For example:
    • Families
    • Schools
    • Businesses
    • Places of worship
    • The overall character and well-being of the town or city
  • What would you like to hear from the candidates (tonight if at a debate watch party/this season) regarding these gaps?
  • What would your community look like if we mended these gaps?
  • What would our nation look like if we mended these gaps?