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Commentary: Charting a path to more civil discourse

By February 16, 2020 February 27th, 2020 No Comments

Craig Clohessy, Lewiston Tribune Managing Editor

Stories to shine a light on issue and relay what’s being done to find solutions

We may never be friends, but that doesn’t mean we have to be enemies.

Many choose to ignore this fact, deciding instead to demonize those with opposing views and trudge down the road of “if you aren’t with me, you’re against me.”

Incivility is rampant in our nation’s capital and has spread like a fever to young and old, rich or poor and yes, in letters to the editor, commentaries and some would say in the news pages of the Lewiston Tribune.

Compromise and civility served as the bedrock this nation was built upon. Now, compromise is a dirty word and civility is viewed as a sign of weakness.

Consider that compromise is an agreement reached through concessions made on both sides (doesn’t seem dirty). The challenge, of course, is identifying areas of agreement and deciding where concessions can be made, all while remaining civil. Civility is often defined as politeness (never thought we’d see the day where being polite was considered weak). But there are those who believe discussing divisive issues is impolite, and look to censor views that oppose their own.

So what can be done to revive the practice of civil discourse without cutting off our constitutional right to free speech?

It’s a question we’ve pondered here at the Tribune and led to what we are calling The Civility Project. We hope to do what the free press does best — shine a light on the issues and share stories of what is being done by others to find solutions.

There is no planned end date to these stories, because the problem is too great to suggest it can be addressed in a finite series.

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