Civility and Discourse

According to recent Pew Research less than 25% of survey respondents indicated political debate in the US was respectful. Additionally, only 39% felt that voters are knowledgeable about the issues. As we head into the midterms lets take steps now to remedy these issues. We can have open and respectful communication across the political divide. Doing so leads to understanding and ‘Progress Succeeds Understanding.’

Towards this end I’ve provided an excerpt from an article written by the Door County Civility Project recommending some simple phrases useful in advancing civil discourse.

Full Article Door County Civility Project – Green Bay Press Gazette

Check out the organization here for more info doorcountycivilityproject.org

There are many ways to tell a speaker you have listened to, and understood, what the person has said. The following are a few suggestions:

  • “Thank you for letting me know how you feel on this issue.”
  • “I am glad that you shared this with me.”
  • “You have really helped me to better understand your viewpoint.”
  • “Can you tell me more?”
  • “I am sure that it felt good to share.”
  • “Wow, I did not know that.”

You may also want to discuss a topic further. Consider these:

  • “I still have some questions and would like to discuss this further.”
  • “Can you tell me some of your life experiences that helped you to come to your opinion.”
  • “You know I had never thought about it in that way and I can see more clearly the complexity of the issue.”
  • “I would like to share with you where we have some real agreements.”

Lastly, there may be times when you need to have some time before you want to have a further discussion.

  • “I have listened to you and really need to think through what you have said to be able to further discuss this. Let’s plan to talk more next week.”
  • “I now see some real areas of agreement, but I want to think this through more for our next discussion.”
  • “With further meetings, I am sure we can work through this.”

Finally there will be times that you will not agree with the person.

  • “I see we have some different views and want us to be able to accept that each of us has a view.”

Being agreeable leads to civil action.


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