It is less than a month to the election. You have had time to do research and are near making your choices. I suggest one last consideration- to rate the civility of all the candidates that you are considering. In reality you are choosing a person to do the job of making decisions with others regarding some aspect of our government. In the United States we have basically a two party system and a three branch form of government. This means that in each branch we have at least two points of view of how are government needs to operate. Civility, “the action of working together productively to reach a common goal and often with beneficent purposes, polite, reasonable, and respectful behavior” is needed to have a successful result. Consequently, we the electorate need to choose individuals who will address a problem in a civil manner.
On a recent news program focused on the current presidential election along with the word civility, two other words caught my attention-polarization and reconciliation. By definition polarization “in the social sciences (politics) is the process by which the public opinion divides and goes to extremes. This word was used to describe how our country is currently functioning. For at least two presidential elections or more the news consensus has been that the American populace is not happy with their elected officials do to their inaction. All we see is right/wrong, win/lose, haves/have nots. So those “in” try to get theirs beliefs through and then the “new” try to get it repealed. Polarization is paralyzing our country.
The definition of the second work, reconciliation is “re-establishing normal relations between belligerents, the restoration of friendly relationships”. In each branch of government individuals have been elected, chosen, or hired to do a job in part because of their views and beliefs. They need to remember that they also represent those that have other views. But finally they are to do their job of running the government and finding the solutions that will move our country forward. They are in a workplace and need to be working together. We know that in businesses where animosity reigns, these will fail.
Civility is the way to begin our reconciliation. Therefor we need to evaluate each candidate’s ability to use the tools. Pay Attention- When someone of a different view is speaking, do they demonstrate that they are willing to direct their ears and eyes to that individual and not interrupt until the person is done. Listen- When the person has finished what they have to say, they fully understand the other point of view. Be Inclusive means that you allow yourself to truly accept that there are other points of view and those are of value. With Not Gossip and Show Respect one does not say negative things about others and treats each individual with dignity and is valued at all times. Now you are able to Be Agreeable and find common ground. Sometimes we may not use these tools and we can Apologize. They need to express their view with Constructive Criticism. Take Responsibility is working diligently with each other for solutions.
While it may be difficult to identify civil behavior in our current political climate with negative ads and attacking debates, it is imperative that each of us are diligent in looking for civility traits. Those individuals will be the ones to work with different opinions to make policies for the benefit of every citizen.
Please then vote on November 8th and THANK YOU for meeting your civil responsibility.
Orlaine I. Gabert
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