When Scott Bentson hung a plain white sign with the words, “TALK POLITICS?” next to his lawn chair in his Park Rapids, Minn., city park, he didn’t know what to expect. But he hoped he was inviting civil conversation about politics that he hadn’t seen since the 2016 presidential election.
Bentson, who is 70 and a retired psychologist, started his Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) initiative to invite Democrats, Republicans and Independent community members to encourage respectful chatting and listening — not political argument or conversion — in a time where he feels most political discourse is “toxic.”
“What bothers me a lot is people demonizing the other guy, whether it’s a Democrat demonizing a Republican or vice versa. It’s not a healthy way to interact or solve problems,” Bentson told the Park Rapids Enterprise in an article about why he decided to hang his “TALK POLITICS?” sign.
We followed Bentson on a recent trip to Prairie Park in Park Rapids, population 3,700.
David Roth is a multi-media producer for Twin Cities PBS. He has produced for the shows MN Original and The Lowertown Line.
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