I appreciated that the News Tribune and Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce moderated a political debate between Rep. Pete Stauber and Eighth Congressional District candidate Quinn Nystrom — and that the forum adhered to basic rules of civility. The tone wasn’t perfect, but it beat the heck out of the first presidential debate.
Anyone who would like to practice courtesy in all political conversations, private and public, should investigate Braver Angels (braverangels.org), a national organization that just published a letter anyone can sign. Thousands already have. Since joining Braver Angels, I have become more aware of my own tendency to act in the four ways that derail democracy: with stereotyping, disdain, dismissal, and contempt.
Its letter states, “It’s a time for opponents, but not for enemies. We the undersigned will work separately for what each of us believes is right, but we will also work together to protect the land we all love — to lift up American citizenship and the American promise in a time of peril.”
That’s a great focus for our collective energy in days leading to Election Day on Nov. 3. Then, after it’s all said and done, we will have a foundation on which to rebuild.