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The decline of civility in political debate was alarming. Harsh rhetoric was getting in the way of resolving bitter disputes.

Worse yet, the nasty tenor of political discourse was so turning off young people that they were walking away from it, saying they didn’t want to get involved in such a nasty process.

The article goes on to state the following:

Sounds like Washington today, right? Actually, it was Duluth, Minn., more than a decade ago as tensions rose over local budget strains. Then, as now on the national political stage, nastiness was becoming the norm, preventing well-intentioned people from coming together to solve problems.

The difference is that the leaders of Duluth decided to do something about it. Civic leaders launched something called Speak Your Peace: The Civility Project. They drew up a list of nine guidelines for civilized debate so simple they could and did fit on a wallet card.

The simple guidelines include staples for communication like paying attention and listening, as well as simple norms for polite society, such as being inclusive and showing respect. Other gems: Along with offering constructive criticism, the guidelines suggest taking responsibility for one’s own actions.

According to the report, all six major units of regional government adopted the guidelines.

Read more, icluding the complete list of guidelines, at The Wall Street Journal.

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  1. WOW~ Common sense government. Now that’s a unique idea! I believe there has always been some sort of discourse within government, whether it be local politics or county/state/federal….However, in today’s society, unruly behavior has been allowed to go on to the point where mob mentality has taken over. Having no self control leads to the violence we have all been witness to. All of the political correctness that had prevailed is to blame for some of this. Now we are all suffering at the federal level because of those in congress who refuse to work with our own president. When will our elected officials realize they are there to serve the people, not themselves? People need to stop listening to the half-truths and outright lies being spread by the closed and narrow minded news outlets and start digging for the truth.

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