Civil Discourse - the lifeblood of civic engagement


Civil discourse can be lively, engaging, passionate—even widely divergent, strongly held views can be discussed reasonably. We embrace and encourage a positive, optimistic—yet realistic—perspective, and the exploration of issues with an eye to finding solutions, exploring opportunities, seeking creative, innovative approaches.
August 20, 2020

Civic Reasoning and COVID-19

Civic reasoning is the practice of thinking through the various aspects of individual and collective involvement in the governance of a community. It is the process by which a member of a community makes reasonable, […]
August 20, 2020

Guns and Protests

Why do people show up at public rallies or demonstrations fully armed? Until this past June this question might have seemed largely irrelevant for us here on the Olympic Peninsula–things to consider more in the […]
April 20, 2020

COVID-19 and Fear

As I write this in late March, we are in the midst of a global crisis like none we have experienced. Other past crises, such as the Great Depression, world wars, natural disasters are in […]
March 7, 2020

Emotions & Civil Political Discourse

When emotions run high, is civility or a civil discussion still possible? Why do we find ourselves reacting emotionally to difficult, complex issues?  How can we control our emotional response in such circumstances?  What’s the […]
March 7, 2020

Restoring Civil Political Discourse

Are we willing to take the steps required to restore civil political discourse?  Are we ready to make the hard choices necessary to re-assert and regain control over how we talk about “politics?”  Do we […]
March 7, 2020

Social Media and Political Discourse

How have we come to be so divided that we can barely tolerate, let alone talk with, someone who’s views are not the same as ours?  Why, in the age of “social” media are we […]
March 7, 2020

Conversation, not Confrontation

What does a civil conversation on a complex, contentious issue sound like?  How does it unfold or progress from start to finish?  Is the goal to achieve agreement?  What if we can’t find any common […]
March 7, 2020

The Assault on Our Civic Contract

What enables us to govern ourselves? How do we go about deciding what we want our government to do—or refrain from doing?  Can we explain clearly to ourselves, or others, what we expect of those […]
March 7, 2020

Lament for America

How have we come to where we seem to be as a country—as Americans?  Why do the things that appear to divide us feel as though they’re multiplying daily?  Do we really have anything of […]
April 16, 2019

Civility and Citizenship

Civility and Citizenship What is the relationship between civility and citizenship? When we talk about being a “good” citizen, what do we mean? How does incivility weaken citizenship? Can we preserve, let alone strengthen, citizenship […]
January 18, 2019

On Civility and Power, Part III

In exploring the relationship between civility and power, this series has sought to explain why we must reject “winning at all costs,” “ends justifying means,” and “might making right” as norms governing our political (and […]
January 18, 2019

On Civility and Power, Part II

How can we have civil conversations about complicated issues? What specific steps can we take to restore trust and confidence in our capacity to solve complex problems? Is it sufficient just to re-establish strong emotional […]
November 9, 2018

On Civility and Power, Part I

What is, or should be, the relationship between civility and power? Is civility compatible with, or even possible in, situations perceived as a struggle for power? Does civil discourse require “neutrality?” How does the loss […]
October 23, 2017
truly inclusive community

On Being a Truly Inclusive Community

What does it mean to be a truly “inclusive” community? Is being “inclusive” even possible in a fractious age when we seem all too willing to make sharp, impenetrable distinctions between “us” and “them?” Is […]
June 21, 2017

Introducing US

United Sequim (US) for Sequim Schools is a group that was formed following the Sequim Community Plus meetings that focused on how best to support and promote our schools. The desire to build more positive […]