A true democracy sanctions the challenge of deeply held values and accepted societal standards, but in the United States today, some members of the political arena have abandoned respectful communication. Instead, contentious political discourse stalls Congress and, at times, erupts into violence. Negative personal attacks and outrageous character assassinations replace reasoned arguments and intelligent debate. Yet incivility has existed in various forms throughout American history, often preceding positive change.
In March 2011, Washington State University hosted one of four major conferences held across the country. The purpose was to initiate discussion about the role of civility in American democracy. Leading scholars from a variety of disciplines participated, concentrating on five distinctive perspectives: history, religion, philosophy, art and architecture, and media. Comprised of 23 papers presented at the conference, A Reasonable Understanding offers insight from these seasoned experts.
Photographs / charts / notes / references / 192 pages (2012)