This post is part of our ongoing effort to highlight discourse about civility around the web. Our articles for civility linkblogging come from a wide cross-section of blogs and newspapers, magazines and other websites, from the United States and abroad.
This week, we delve into civic politics from Tallahasse, Florida, to Buffalo, New York, to Columbia, South Carolina, noting especially a thoughtful piece by Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin, who begins with the story of an old man’s words to his grandson:
“There is a battle raging inside of me, a terrible fight between two wolves.
“One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.
“The other is good,” he continued. “He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
“There is a battle raging inside of me. It rages inside of everyone in our village, inside every person since time began, and it rages inside of you.”
Frightened, the boy asked, “But, Grandfather, which wolf will win?”
The old man reached out with weathered arms embracing his grandson to comfort him and, holding him close, answered: “Whichever one you feed, child. Whichever one you feed.”
If you have an article that you think would be right for future civility linkblogging posts, please do not hesitate to email it to us at [email protected]ituteforcivility.org. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.
Now, onto the links:
From The Left: There Is A Place For Civility In Politics
Posted by GameND at SayAnythingBlog.com, March 20, 2014
When I speak of civility, I don’t mean that politics should not be a full contact activity. I really believe that there is a time and a place for aggressive and even negative campaigning. When you put your name on a ballot, you open your life up to public scrutiny.
However, there is a fine line between attacking a candidate’s position or their qualifications and attacking the candidate as a person and/or attacking their family.
It’s not about Bull Street or baseball or even Columbia. It’s bigger than that. It’s the name calling and wild accusations, the victory-at-all-costs attitude on display across our nation from school boards to state legislatures, city councils to Congress. It’s a bitter pill for anyone to swallow, and it’s making all of us petty and mean.
The answer is civility — rules not of courtesy or etiquette but rather of citizenship: making the commitment to respect each other as citizens if not as individuals and putting the common good before our personal ambitions. It’s about recognizing that whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together, and building our collective future is more important than winning an argument.
Even in the rough-and-tumble world of political rivalry, there are limits to how uncivil politicians should be. Unfortunately, Bangladeshi politicians have crossed all boundaries of decency. Incivility reached its lowest ebb when threat of physical harm was issued by an influential lawmaker of the ruling party.
Politics is an art of compromise, not a show of incivility. And civility in politics is the art of tolerating dissent and reconciling differences amicably. Civility requires a willingness to consider respectfully the views of others and try to make compromise. However, compromise does not necessarily imply total agreement. It means putting personal animosity aside, placing the country ahead of the party and discussing the real issues with an open mind.
For too long, the discussion of important public issues has often resembled a free-for-all hosted by World Wrestling Entertainment instead of a dialogue to benefit the taxpayers of our communities.
It’s time someone took a positive step forward to improve our discourse, prevent the hijacking of meetings to promote personal vendettas and ensure that our leaders are tackling the public business in front of them.
In a serious tone, [Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster] said the key to compromise is not to abandon moral principles and to recognize you are not always going to convince everyone you are right, he said, adding that everyone should separate people’s political views and ideology and “see the person.”
Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen said the two must go hand in hand.
“If we have compromise without civility, we make decisions that do not include others,” he said. “And that’s how you end up with classism and racism.”