Updated: Oct 27, 2020
City of Findlay, Ohio Mayor Christina Muryn penned a piece calling for civility, inspired by the ad released this week by Utah's gubernatorial candidates, Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Democrat Chris Peterson calling for unity. In it they call for debate without degrading, disagreeing without hating and a willingness to collaborate no matter who wins.
"In 30 seconds," writes Mayor Muryn, they made a statement that many across the US, and around the world, are wanting to hear: Civility is not Dead."
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Hamilton, April 22, 1800.
I challenge you to consider Jefferson’s letter to William Hamilton and the Utah ad. Maybe discuss them with someone who has different politics than you. Why? Well, because the best way to communicate is to listen first. Realize that your viewpoint is not the only one.
Respectful disagreement can be positive. It helps us grows as individuals and, collectively, as a community.
Civil discourse is described as “engagement in discourse (conversation) intended to enhance understanding.”
When you listen, do you listen just to respond or do you listen to learn?
When was the last time you sought out the reasons someone holds a different view than yours? Do you really hear them?
How often do you pause and test your own thought processes?
Have you recently ruined a relationship because of different perspectives
Think of all the ways we communicate. Before writing something do you consider how you would say it in person? Before you hit the share button on social media do you validate the content against at least two other credible sources?
The Utah candidates are on to what Thomas Jefferson already knew 200 years ago.
Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
Christina Muryn is the mayor of the City of Findlay.