We Believe

Civil Discourse is the ONLY path to our Common Ground 

With the start of the presidential campaign season, we are appalled at the uncivil, disparaging tone being set by Donald Trump. Worse yet, his opponents have started to follow his lead. This and the uproar over Hilary Clinton’s email server creates an atmosphere in which the candidates, who are our role models, are providing very good bad examples all kinds of Evil Speech. We have a better idea.

We have developed a process that demonstrates civil discourse, provides candidates with clear guidelines for our events and gives voters the information they need to make informed decisions. Our model for mediated Candidate Conversations is unique in the world of politics. You can get a clear view of our model in 4 easy steps.

1. Civil Discourse and Evil Speech defines our use of the terms and includes a list of rhetorical tricks used in political campaigns that you can use as a reference.

2. Candidate Conversations Overview explains our process in detail.

3. Our Services to Voters and Our Services to Candidates explain the benefits of our approach.

4. And finally, you can view the video of Frank Larose and George Rusiska, who ran for the Ohio Senate’s 27th District seat in 2014, as they participated one of our Candidate Conversations. John Bertschler is the mediator.

We thank you for your interest and offer you our Founder's video which introduces our 10 Steps to Civil Discourse. These guidelines can help all of us learn to speak more nicely to each other. Our Candidate Conversation Guidelines are designed specifically so all participants can see what is expected of the others. For more information, email LHK@getbetteroutcomes.org.

Criticism & Compliments

Dave Scott

By Dave Scott

Posted September 1st, 2015
1:48 pm

Michael Douglas misunderstands

On August 22, the Beacon Journal's Michael Douglas, a man for whom I have tremendous respect, wrote this clinker of an editorial column

Many of you know that I spent much of my last two years at the Beacon Journal writing about civility as part of the Akron Beacon Journal’s America Today project. Those stories helped the paper win the Ohio Associated Press’s Public Service Award. It was not, however, universally praised. Some people, apparently including Mike, thought of civility as some kind of limp-wristed approach to public issues.

Here is my letter to the editor in response to Michael’s column:


Many Beacon Journal readers must have been puzzled when Michael Douglas suggested the Akron mayoral candidates could be acting too civilly.

Many of them remember the paper’s America Today series from 2012-13 that showed how politicians and others were using incivility to inspire hate, anger and bigotry in an attempt to manipulate voters from a more rational approach. I was proud to be a significant part of that reporting team.

Now Douglas says “a strong case can be made that as short as tempers have been at City Hall, the problem for Akron isn’t a lack of civility. Rather, we risk being too civil, of failing to confront directly the challenges the city faces.”

Where did Douglas get the idea that a civil discussion precludes direct approaches? It’s distressing to know a man in his position can suggest civility gets in the way of informed, rational discussion. Those are exactly the tools needed to defeat the bullies who appeal to our baser interests.

Let me say as civilly and forcefully as I can: Mike, you don’t understand civility.

Dave Scott


I am not surprised that it has not been published.

This country simultaneously has people responding to obnoxious political commercials, lies, distortions and hate language in the promotion of candidates. We also hear complaints about political correctness and thinly veiled language designed to spark racism, bigotry and hatred. The few of us who stand up and call for a more reasoned and civilized discussion of issues are reviled or ignored.

There is a constituency for incivility. Politicians know they must rile up their base to inspire them to vote. Never mind the concept of leading them to the noble concepts of past generations. They prefer to manipulate people with high priced ad campaigns that distort, mislead and inspire the ugliest nature of voters. They know these tactics also send their loyalists to the polls.

The news media play a part, too. They realize, at least on some level, that a story that includes outrageous statements and passionate pleas will be well read or watched.   I've been guilty of that myself. The more responsible among them try to eliminate incivility from their own voices but they are willing to repeat it when said by otherwise responsible politicians. 

Now Michael Douglas says their might be TOO MUCH civility at Akron City Hall to foster an effective discussion of the issues.

You know how I feel about it. What do you say?



The Beacon Journal published two civility stories today:

Rich Heldenfels: Is civility in politics dead? What do you think, loser?

Doyle McManus: So civilized, it's quaint


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