A Summer of Civility is the first step toward changing the political discourse for the better and strengthening our democracy. Let’s do what we can to bring civility and respect back to America’s politics.
It’s Time for a Summer of Civility
America’s political discourse is broken. Too many—whether public servants or members of the public—look upon political adversaries with hostility and vitriol, forgetting that politics is not everything. As former members of the Senate and House, respectively, we prided ourselves on an ability to hold an open and respectful dialogue with people who shared very different views from our own, and we were not alone in that perspective. That has sadly changed.
It’s time for a summer of civility.
We are not under any illusion that these problems can be quickly changed, and we are not naively calling for an end to partisanship. We are, however, challenging all Americans to listen to each other more, and to be more open to others’ perspectives. Members of Congress are gathering to sign a Commitment to Civility, pledging to act with respect and collegiality toward one another.
It is the start of what we at BPC are calling a Summer of Civility—a season for taking the first steps toward changing the political discourse for the better. We commend these leaders for stepping up to this challenge, and we encourage all elected officials to make their own commitments. These are symbolic steps, but symbols do matter. Let’s do what we can to bring civility and respect back to America’s politics.
Recommitting to Civility
The Commitment to Civility Pledge, authored by Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA) in January 2017, was signed by both freshmen Republicans and Democrats. The effort was spearheaded, however, by the Freshman Class Presidents: Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Val Demings (D-FL), and A. Donald McEachin (D-VA).
On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, the Freshman Class Presidents and leadership from the Bipartisan Policy Center recommitted to the Commitment to Civility—a pledge to act with respect and civility—at the U.S. Capitol.