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Nonstop fields candidate forum

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Since it began several years ago, Nonstop members have aimed to fill voids. First, they filled an intellectual void in the village by offering classes after Antioch College closed down. Even after the college revived, Nonstop provided a series of cultural events. And now organizers hope to fill what they perceive as a civic void by hosting a candidates forum next week.

“It’s a chance to be good citizens of the community, to take the democratic process seriously,” said Nonstop working member Dan Reyes. “We’re happy to contribute in some way.”

The event, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Nonstop Institute, is an opportunity for community members to meet and speak with candidates for the Ohio 7th District seat in the U.S. Congress: Republican Steve Austria, Democrat Bill Conner, Libertarian John D. Anderson and Constitution Party candidate David Easton.

As of Monday, Conner had confirmed that he will attend, Austria’s staff said he will not attend but will provide information, and Anderson and Easton had not responded, Reyes said.

The irony of the information age is that, while Americans are sometimes overwhelmed by communication technology, there’s a diminishing opportunity to meet candidates face to face. Both Reyes and Nonstop member Otha Davenport remember in their growing up years seeing local politicians frequently around town, and both feel such familiarity is rare these days. And when politicians do appear in person, a packed agenda often requires that they speak quickly, such as at a recent Beavercreek forum when each candidate had three minutes to present their views.

“What can you say in three minutes?” Davenport said.

Consequently, the Nonstop event will provide a more leisurely opportunity to know the candidates. Each will speak for about 15 minutes, after which each will take questions for an additional 15 minutes.

“We want to put a face back on politics and slow it down,” Reyes said. “We’re hoping to add some depth.”

Villagers tend to get very involved in both local and presidential elections, Davenport believes. However, he said, “These middle elections matter, too,” especially in this volatile election year when the control of Congress is in the balance.

Which party controls Congress will significantly affect villagers’ lives, organizers believe, regarding such issues as the possible repeal of health care reform, job creation, bank regulation and controlling the federal deficit.

“All of these are big issues,” Davenport said.

The Nonstop organizers emphasize that they’re not advocating a particular point of view. Rather, they just want people to meet their candidates and get to know more about their stands on issues.

While they don’t aim to push partisan positions, Nonstop organizers do hope to affect the quality of political conversation that currently seems “locked into a partisan stand-off,” even if just in one village, according to Reyes.

“We hope to contribute to help change the conversation,” he said.

Also this fall, Nonstop is offering three workshops in varied artistic genres.

“Understanding Visual Modernism” is a four-week workshop that “examines the interplay between abstraction and representation in 20th century American art,” according to a Nonstop press release. The workshop began Friday, Oct. 8, and continues for three Saturdays, and includes trips to the Dayton Art Institute and the Springfield Museum.

“Stuff!!!! (Water)” taught by Michael Casselli, is a six-week course on Mondays and Saturdays beginning Oct. 18. The workshop is “a playful investigation into ideas and observations about the nature of water,” according to the press release, and each participant will develop a project around the subject.

“Other People’s Lives: Memoirs and Personal Essay” is a five-week reading and discussion group taught by Roxandra Antoniadis that meets Mondays starting Oct. 18. The groups will read works related to food, travel, the mind and war, with discussions centering on each author’s individual style and how the intent is conveyed. Participants will be encouraged to write their own personal essays.

For more information about the Nonstop workshops or candidates event, go online to http://www.nonstopinstitute.org .

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