This post originally shared on the Peninsula Pulse website
When disagreements turn into shouting matches between co-workers, politicians, neighbors, families and friends, it can be hard to remember that basic thing you learned in kindergarten how to be civil. That’s what the Door County Civility Project wants to fix.
“We know that disagreements are always going to be there and that conflicts are going to arise because of the diversity of views and opinions that keep our democracy strong,” said Shirley Senarighi. “This is not a mission to get rid of disagreements or conflicts, they’re simply a part of life.
“What we’re hoping is to build a campaign to make it safe to disagree. If people engage in civil communication and civil conversation, they can express those disagreements in a way that others aren’t offended, where it enhances the conversation rather than stops the conversation.”
Senarighi is part of The Door County Civility Project, an idea that came out of a local League of Women Voters meeting after members observed the negative effects of insult hurling, one-liner politics. It wasn’t just in national politics, but state and local as well.
They decided to do something about it. First meeting in January, by March a leadership team emerged to examine nine principles of civility and organize training sessions for people interested in learning how to discuss tough topics peacefully.
“When you want to change something you usually have to start at your own front door. That’s why I think people are interested in becoming involved, because they see that very point,” Senarighi said.
More than 60 people have already pledged to keep civility in mind every day, and many have attended training sessions to discuss practicing civility.
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