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In Search of Civility

Civility is much more than just behaving politely. This 8-page issue brief from the National Association of Counties (NACo) provides an overview of current state of civil dialogue in local government and examples of how counties can ensure a civil dialogue during county meetings. Published June 2010. Download In Search of Civility at this link or visit www.naco.org/research/pubs/ to see all NACo publications.

Here’s a sample of the content of this issue brief:

Recently, student leaders from 14 different colleges and universities issued a joint statement that they believe can help guide the public discourse of elected officials and their constituents. Convening at Allegheny College at the Center for Political Participation, these “Ten Tips to Improve Civility” were released during a national conference called Pathway to Civility.

The tips include the following recommendations.

  1. Listen to opposing views
  2. Seek shared values
  3. Acknowledge the legitimacy of opposing positions
  4. Identify the problem at-hand, focusing on it rather than on larger conflict
  5. Avoid political caricatures, labels and generalizations that may not truly present the views of your adversaries
  6. Accept that disagreement will exist without giving up your own convictions
  7. Clarify what is being said before attacking and/or responding
  8. Recognize the value of solutions beyond those offered by traditional political platforms
  9. Consider the consequences of what you say and do
  10. Hold yourself personally accountable for your own political actions

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