Why be civil

Repairing the World with the Words We Speak

Why be civil

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In recent years it has become popular to slam some concepts as “politically correct.”  The implication is that a complaint is petty, insignificant and fails to acknowledge that the public forum is necessarily a nasty place and we all need to accept a little mudslinging.

This website is not designed to defend everyone who whines about petty insults. There also will be no attempt to stifle free speech or the debates that raise awareness and help make our society strong.

But the Better Outcomes founders do claim that incivility, evil speech, public rants, flaming, shaming and a lot of what we hear on talk radio and the other media are doing real damage to our society.  One of the few things we can agree on is that the country is more polarized than in decades. For many, the political arena has roughly the appeal of mud wrestling, providing knee-slapping entertainment as public figures who should be respected have their faces rubbed in virtual excrement by opponents who hope to gain by debasing political foes.

On the surface, it might appear politics have never been more popular with the media filled with jocular reports of one slight after another. Election-season political contributions now measure in the billions, resulting in a seemingly endless parade of political ads throwing dirt.

There are, however, other measures that indicate millions of people are repulsed by the whole process. Voter turnouts are extremely low. We don’t go long between reports about how little citizens know about key issues. Social media and even some news reports are filled with “memes” repeating vague, misleading or blatantly inaccurate statements. Even science has come under attack by partisan groups that fire glancing blows to raise skepticism about generally accepted facts in an attempt to support their own selfish interests. Religions are among those taking a beating. Meanwhile many decent people decide to ignore the rabble and go about their lives paying as little attention to public debates they consider despicable, vulgar and hate-filled.

This website has modest but important goals. We hope to emphasize the importance of civil, rational, respectful, fact-based discussions. We also will shine a light on those public comments that we believe are doing damage. We also will present a variety of viewpoints on particular issues, even views contrary to our own. Our hope is to help people become aware of how incivility is poisoning the public forum.

You can read more of my work here.

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