AN EXERCISE IN CIVILITY
There are so few examples of genuine, nonpartisan,
civil discourse these days that the rare opportunity
to participate sticks out like a sore thumb. Madison
had a series of very grass-roots, citizen-initiated
conversations a year or so ago. But the nature of
this week's nonpartisan public
dialogue at the UW-Marshfield
Wood County Campus is striking in its scope.
The Marshfield Civility Project is sponsored by
both the Republican and Democratic parties of Wood
County, the Marshfield Area Community Foundation and
the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Services.
It uses the excellent National Issues Forum Issue
Guide "How Do We Get American Politics Back on Track,"
as a conversation starter on the topic of civility
in politics. It's designed to get people talking,
listening and thinking rationally and civilly, disagreeing
respectfully and who knowsmaybe even agreeing a little
Journalist colleagues in Wausau tell us the project
has drawn attention and is having an influence on
citizen behavior in that area. It's an interesting
model that deserves being paid attention to, and in
all likelihood, replicating.