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The Power of Civility

See the full conversation and online dialogue here.

Have you taken the Civility Pledge?  It's one of the most important aspects of Coffee Party USA and how we attempt to model behavior that we'd like to see in everyone. Since most of Coffee Party's supporters are on Facebook, I interact with a lot of people there.  Recently I posted about how the media covers the frivolous instead of the substantive and asked people not to watch mainstream media. The example I used was the "Ted Cruz is a Canadian" coverage. Of course, this brought out many people who wanted to talk about Ted Cruz instead of the mainstream media.

 On this particular thread, a friend of a friend questioned if a good friend of mine was choosing to be ignorant. In my world, that is like asking someone if you choose to have cancer. Of course, people will say no. The question itself presumes that if you don't agree with the questioner, then you are stupid or ignorant. This is a subtle form of disrespect that stems in unconscious arrogance. Treating others as "ignorant" or "stupid" because they "refuse to accept the facts" is one facet of the partisanship facing our country.  This attitude also presumes that only one person or "side" has the answer.

Instead, I find engaging with people who have different beliefs from me to be very educational. I don't feel the need to convince them, but I do want to understand them. I have had "a-ha" moments about Pentecostal Christianity, abortion, disabilities and other topics. This has led to me uncovering many commonalities with others that I would never have suspected. My day job with Living Room Conversations has honed my ability to listen respectfully, find common ground and hold the tension of our differences. All in all, this increases my ability to feel compassion, dignity and connection with almost anyone. And most importantly, I like and respect others. This dramatically increases my desire to take joint action. Recently, I appeared on Huffington Post Live with my day job to talk about this.

The Civility Pledge

As a member or supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process. 

I encourage everyone to sign the civility pledge and then follow it. I'd love to hear about your triumphs and challenges in following the civility pledge.  Together, we can do anything.