Monday, March 7, 2011

A Lack of Civility?

I recently came across this post and wanted to share it.  The gist of the article is that there needs to be Rules of Civil Political Disagreement.  Over the past twenty five years or so of both political activism and elective office, I have seen the "good, bad and ugly" when it comes to public discourse.  The worst tend to be annoymous commenters to blog posts who lose nothing by calling people names that I doubt they'd say to the persons face.  Any way-here it is....what do you think?

The Rules of Civil Political Disagreement
In a recent Facebook exchange, the Collins Center’s Tony Carvajal and I were bemoaning the lack of civility in modern political discourse. I suggested that what’s needed now is a Hoyle’s for Civility that outlines what’s fair and what scores below the belt.

I invite everyone who is tired of the current climate of rhetorical distortion and hate politics to weigh in and suggest what the Rules of Civil Political Disagreement should be. Here are a few thoughts to get us started:

1. Attack the position, not the person.
2. Don’t raise a charge without
3. Don’t attack someone’s family.
Don’t label, ie. by suggesting someone is only taking a position because he is in the pocket of a nefarious influence, such as a lobbyist, insider or “special interest” or is himself a closeted evildoer, such as a liberal, socialist, communist, religious fanatic, gun nut or tree-hugger.
5. Don’t turn an alleged behavior into a
character flaw. As I frequently remind my children, you can say your brother lied but you cannot call him a liar. This suggests he is so accomplished at the vile behavior as to be defined by it.
6. Never incite
7. Don’t question motives. Let the facts speak for themselves (but make sure the facts are correct.)
8. Avoid
straw man arguments, ie. because you disagree with Obamacare, you don’t care if people have no health insurance OR if you question defense spending you are against national security.
9. Avoid ad hominem attacks, that is raising an irrelevant fact about a person to discredit an argument, ie. what do you expect from a
career politician?
10. Under no circumstances call someone a
RonSachs Communications