Laura Berlind founded and helps run a think tank that is focused on one state and one state only: Tennessee. She’s the executive director of the Sycamore Institute, which on the surface is something pedestrian: a place that does research.
But underneath the surface, Sycamore is trying to do something revolutionary in our time. We live in a moment when politics and political debate is often captive to a winner-take-all, facts be damned mentality, where ideology and partisanship are in the driver’s seat, and quite frankly power is the highest goal rather than service.
Sycamore is a group of people trying to carve out a space in Tennessee politics, which is very conservative, for honest and open fact-based inquiry into what state lawmakers should do about the state’s big problems, much of it around health care. They want people from all sides to be able to agree about what the facts of a matter are, what the most likely outcomes of a certain policy might be, and just as importantly, what they don’t know for sure.
In an age of alternative facts and polarization, this group is focused on establishing shared facts and a way forward for people in their state.
Outro Music: "Sooner or Later" by MuteMath
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