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Friday, January 14, 2011

Another Failure Of Civility

Jan 14th, 2011

It was with great respect that I noted the creation two years ago of The Civility Project by conservative Evangelical activist Mark DeMoss. Mr. DeMoss was so clearly sincere in not only seeking to help elevate debate in America but in reaching across our ideological divides that I assumed he would have some success. His initiative dropped off my radar following the initial publicity surrounding it's founding. Now I know why. Due to an almost total lack of interest from those in government, the project has been disbanded.

From the NY Times:

"Mark DeMoss, a Republican and a prominent evangelical Christian who runs a public relations firm in Atlanta, initiated in January 2009 because of alarm over what he saw as the increasingly vicious tone in American politics. He asked his friend, Lanny J. Davis, a Jewish Democrat and a lobbyist who worked for President Bill Clinton, to join the effort.
They sent out 585 letters asking every sitting governor and member of Congress to sign a pledge that said:
I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.
I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.
I will stand against incivility when I see it.

Mr. DeMoss said he in an interview that he is now folding the project after spending two years and about $30,000 in expenses on the endeavor. Three legislators had signed the pledge. They were Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut; Representative Frank Wolfe, Republican of Virginia; and Representative Sue Myrick, Republican of North Carolina.
In a letter written on Jan. 3 to the three, Mr. DeMoss said, “I must admit to scratching my head as to why only three members of Congress, and no governors, would agree to what I believe is a rather low bar.”

Out of every sitting Governor, Senator and Representative who received the invitation from Mr. DeMoss, only 3 found it worthy to sign a basic pledge of decency. That so many found themselves unable to reach this "rather low bar" further emphasizes how badly we need to clean up our act.

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