Civility Has Appeal
To order civility pins at $1 each contact:
9019 Oso Avenue, Suite F
Chatsworth, CA 91311-6222
NCSL President’s Theme for 2010-2011
Two out of three Americans, according to an April 2010 survey by KRC Research, consider a general lack of civility to be a major problem for the nation, and 72 percent think that poor behavior has gotten worse in recent years. While civility is a problem in virtually all walks of life, politicians may be particularly vulnerable.
Some 83 percent of those polled said, “People should not vote for candidates and politicians who are uncivil.” Nearly half of all Americans say they are tuning out of government and politics, 46 percent are tuning out of media commentary and 38 percent are tuning out of news coverage.
Seventy-one percent of Democrats view Republicans as uncivil, while 74 percent of Republicans view Democrats as uncivil. Some 58 percent of independents rate Republicans as uncivil and 50 percent rate Democrats as uncivil.
Incivility is defined as “rudeness and lack of respect for those who have different points of view and who don’t share the same view of the world.” Although the political atmosphere in state capitols is not nearly as toxic as that in Washington, D.C., state legislators have an opportunity to move the public discourse in a more positive direction than their federal counterparts. By promoting civility in legislative business, constituent meetings and, even, in the fall political campaigns, state legislators can help to restore collegiality and build consensus for addressing the real problems facing our states and nation.
During the NCSL Executive Committee meeting held during the Legislative Summit last week in Louisville, Ky., the word “civility,” began appearing on small blue buttons worn by members of NCSL’s governing board. The lapel buttons, a gift from NCSL’s new president, Massachusetts Senator Richard T. Moore, expressed a key theme of Senator Moore’s presidency. As the summit unfolded, many legislators asked how they could obtain additional buttons to share with legislative colleagues back in their own state capitols.