Improving civility at all levels

In response to the New Hampshire Union Leader article, “Pundits: Political discourse at all-time low” (8/27/16)

Is incivility the new norm in American politics?

I hope not, but we’re definitely on the way there. This election we’ve witnessed near-riots at political rallies, expletive-laden voicemails, name-calling, and worse. 69 percent of Americans agree that civility has decreased in the last few years, and 2 out of 3 voters say the 2016 campaign is less civil than other elections.

While political incivility seems to be ramping up throughout the country at the national politics level, it’s encouraging to see groups and individuals taking action at the local.

I commend the Monadnock Center of History and Culture, through its Walter Peterson Forum for Civil Discourse, along with the New England Center for Civic Life for engaging people through thoughtful listening and respectful debate. We need more groups to encourage civility and remind people that their political opponents aren’t our enemy, they’re our neighbors. They deserve our respect, no matter how wrong we think they are.

That why we at the National Institute for Civil Discourse launched a national campaign entitled #ReviveCivility to encourage citizens, the media, and politicians to sign on to our standards of conduct and stand up against incivility. I invite everyone to join us by logging on to nicd.arizona.edu/Standards and reading more about the common-sense standards we wish to uphold.

We believe that in American politics, we can disagree without being disagreeable — after all, that’s called debate.