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Civil Discourse

CMC

A topic as relevant today as when first discussed at CMC three years ago - civil discourse. The Columbus Metropolitan Club hosted the national launch of this important initiative to restore civil discourse to society and politics.

Featuring Tom Daschle, former Democratic U.S. Senator from South Dakota and former Senate Majority Leader; James “Jim” Thomas Kolbe, former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Arizona’s 5th congressional district, Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse.

United States politicians are no strangers to using unkind language against their opponents. It's a trend that dates back to at least 1800 when, during the presidential campaign, Thomas Jefferson hired James Callender to slime John Adams. But Alexander Theodoridis, who teaches political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says that today's partisanship can lend itself to particularly dehumanizing language not only between political opponents, but also between regular Americans who belong to opposite political parties.

To some, Republican Sen. John McCain embodied principles of a bygone Washington: He sought common ground; he reached across the political divide; he had close friendships with Democrats.

His wife, Cindy McCain, would like to try to get back to those days. So to mark a year since her husband died of brain cancer, she is encouraging Americans to be more civil.

"We're missing John's voice of reason right now in so many ways," McCain tells NPR's David Greene.

Ohio Public Radio

A prominent historian and author who is visiting Ohio thinks there are signs the political divisiveness that has gripped government could relax in the future.

Civility is a nice sentiment — but it's harder to put into practice.

Take a contentious debate last year in the Maine House of Representatives over a proposal to ban conversion therapy — a discredited treatment designed to make gay people straight.

A shooting on Saturday at a synagogue in Pittsburgh left at least 11 people dead. Earlier this week, at least 14 pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrats and their supporters — apparently because of their political views.

But even before this week's events, people across Pennsylvania were saying they are frustrated with the tone of the country's public discourse and the lack of civility. They say they're hoping for more unity.