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Civility Linkblogging: Campaigning, Gossip, and Respect

By Anita Pratanti, via flickr

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.

Of note this week is an article about New York Times columnist David Brooks, and his recent remarks to MATRIX:MIDLAND, an event in Midland, Michigan. There, he called civility a moral issue. We live he said, too much in a culture that affirms external virtues; good grades, financial success, fame. And as a result, we undervalue intangible qualities like strength of character that are necessary to lead, or govern, or discourse civilly with one another.

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]. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now — the list:

Columnist Brooks: Too Much Emphasis on External Values Stunts Civility
Posted by Cathy Nelson Price at Midland Daily News, June 4, 2014

“Civility is a moral issue,” Brooks said. “More of us think about our external, our resumé virtues than our internal or eulogy virtues, the things we want said about us when we die. We live in a culture that affirms external virtues; good grades, financial success, fame.”

Buying into that set of values thwarts not only civility, but stunts the character needed to lead or govern, a pattern that’s currently playing out in Washington, where Brooks is one of the inner circle of respected political analysts.

Principles of Civility: Don’t Be a Gossip
Posted by Orlaine I. Gabert at, June 10, 2014

The first three tools of the Door County Civility Project which were pay attention, listen, and be inclusive, asked that you take positive verbal steps in your communications. The fourth tool asks that you not do something: Don’t Gossip.

A Call for Civility by Candidates and Supporters
Posted at, June 12, 2014

We can recount too many instances in which blind hyperpartisanship has put a wrench into the works of governance, both in our nation’s capital and in our state capital. Candidates and their supporters can decry the negative tone all they want, but they make a much stronger case if they practice that preaching themselves. It worked for Sam Reed; more importantly, it works for the citizenry and for our representative democracy.

Agreeing to Disagree – Mason Square Library In Springfield
Posted by Paul Tuthill at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, June 16, 2014

What has happened to civility in our country? Conversations with people at the Mason Square Library in Springfield, Massachusetts reveal displeasure over how we interact with one another today and uncertainty over whether we can become more civil in the future.

Over time, it seems the face-to-face has become in-your-face.

Mattie Jenkins says when she was growing up more than a half-century ago people were more respectful and kind.

Everyone Benefits from Some Civility
Posted by Greg Hill at, June 16, 2014

I attended a presentation by one of the founders at UAF last month and learned that the Village Square organization describes itself as “a nervy bunch of conservatives and liberals who believe that disagreement and dialogue make for a good conversation, a good country, and a good time.”

That last aspect is crucial, for the Village Square approach encourages leading proponents of both sides of local issues to speak to their concerns before a mixed group of citizens reflecting differing perspectives, and who are sharing a meal.

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