Being civil is
we can all try
By GLENDA WOLIN
Thanksgiving is getting near, and as you daydream about the smell of pumpkin (or apple or pecan) pie wafting through the house and salivate at the idea of a juicy turkey (or tofurkey) browning in the oven, you also recall with a touch of horror that Uncle George always makes the little ones cry after he gets tipsy, and Cousin Tillie starts a family fight every time she starts talking politics.
The tipsy uncle is an easy fix: Just declare Thanksgiving alcohol-free.
Aunt Tillie might be tougher, but a new initiative the National Institute for Civil Discourse, the League and other organizations could turn Cousin Tillie’s attitude around.
“Setting the Table for Civility” offers an opportunity for individuals to take action to promote civility, defined as showing mutual respect toward one
The institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit based at the University of Arizona and opened after Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011, focuses on civility in public discourse. It has toolkits to help individuals and groups reach out to others to implement its ideas.
It has launched the Initiative to Revive Civility, an effort to change the tone of our current politics, and it suggests specific things that each person can do to help make it happen, such as taking a personal pledge to practice civility and promote it with others, join in community conversations about how to revive civility at the local level, and
work with elected officials to get proclamations promoting civility.
One idea is simultaneous national actions that encourage as many people as possible to do similar things promoting civility during a specific period of time. “Setting the Table for Civility” is the first one and is taking place from before Thanksgiving week through the year-end holiday season.
The League is just one of dozens of partners nationwide helping to make reviving civility a success. The plan relies on the individuals within the organizations to get involved. All the information is on the website, http://www.revivecivility.org/.