Changing the Game

By: Elisa Batista

BEDFORD, NH -- What's up?

On Monday night, I co-hosted the second ever trans-partisan living room conversation, "Changing the Game", as part of a pilot program launched by Joan Blades of and The first one took place in Colorado and the second one, this past Monday, took place near my parents' neck of the woods, Bedford, New Hampshire.

I co-hosted with Kevin Smith, executive director of the conservative Cornerstone Institute here in New Hampshire, who also happens to be my high school class president. Except for one individual, who was gracious enough to have us in his home in Bedford, six of us were Londonderry High School alum. Here was the breakup of the room: 2 liberals, 1 "mostly liberal", 3 conservatives and 1 libertarian.

Unfortunately, the room was broken up by gender with the three women representing the liberal side and the four guys as conservatives or libertarian. Nonetheless, it was respectful, enjoyable and everyone was willing to get together again -- always a good sign.

We discussed global warming and renewable energy. The conservatives and libertarian did not believe that global warming was man-made and questioned the "integrity of the data." I wish I had invited a scientist or someone who listed global warming as their No. 1 issue because that was something that was lacking that night: facts. None of us were scientists and we had formed an opinion based on what we read in the media.

Also, we seemed to care about other issues much more than global warming. When we did veer off topic, we tended to discuss education (No. 1), followed by smaller government, the housing crisis, jobs and the economy. One conservative said that "respect for life" -- abortion -- was the most important issue for him.

Nonetheless, environmental preservation was important to us. We reached common ground in two ways: one, I was impressed by how much we did in our personal lives, including the conservatives, such as recycling, installing energy efficient light bulbs and having our children in cloth diapers -- at least some of the time. The other was the need for alternative sources of energy to oil. At one point, Kevin and I seemed to be in agreement that it was probably going to take higher gas prices and/or a catastrophic event once the oil ran out for us to act.

This discussion took place over dinner at 6 p.m. and it ran into 9:30 p.m. with us straggling behind and talking about our LHS days and former classmates. It was a delightful evening I would repeat.

Enough about me. What's up with you?

This has been reprinted from a post that originally appeared on