To the Editor:
Americans can agree on about 80 percent of issues our country faces. The 20 percent of closely held beliefs we disagree on requires respectful give-and-take. Given our political climate, I strongly support the common-sense H. Res. 400 and urge its passage. Its words are necessary and worth reflecting on:
Whereas civility involves being nice or polite to others and treating others with respect;
Whereas civil discourse and dialogue are hallmarks of the American political and social systems, and these hallmarks have been jeopardized in recent years by growing division in and coarsening of our political culture;
Whereas 9 out of 10 Americans agree incivility leads to intimidation, threats, harassment, discrimination, violence and cyberbullying;
Whereas a majority of Americans believe incivility in our politics encourages general incivility in society and deters citizens from engaging in public service;
Whereas racial and religious minorities, the homeless, people with disabilities, the poor and law enforcement officers report having experienced the most incivility;
Whereas civility training in schools, a national campaign to promote civility, a conscious public effort to practice civility, and a National Day of Civility may combat the threats posed by increasing incivility and distrust in our institutions; and
Whereas July 12th would be an appropriate day to designate as a National Day of Civility: Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the House of Representatives –
(1) supports the designation of a National Day of Civility;
(2) encourages a national campaign to promote civility in our schools, at work and in our public spaces; and
(3) calls on all Americans to practice civility.
Congressman Randy Hultgren
Representative of Illinois’ 14th District
Remind them: They work for us
To the Editor:
Our representatives need to act in a more open and responsible way when considering legislation such as budgets, health care, tax reform or overhauling public education. If you agree, contact your representatives. Tell them what you expect, and remind them you’re watching what they do.
If a law is being replaced, stabilize the current one to allow time for careful consideration of its replacement. Stabilizing the existing law secures all who are dependent on it.
Representatives who don’t are letting you know protecting you isn’t their first priority.
The next step is crucial: Hold public hearings. Talk to the people who helped shape the original law because their unique insights could speed the process. Then bring in new voices for a fresh look.
After the final bill is written, representatives need to come home and explain their position. Listen/respond to constituents’ concerns. A good representative isn’t condescending or unavailable. If a representative won’t debate a bill publicly, hear from experts or hides from constituents, the bill is probably a bad idea. Anyone who doesn’t follow these steps should be putting his/her job in jeopardy.
Voters have responsibilities too. They need to stay well-informed, contact representatives if they’re not representing them adequately, supporting candidates who put constituents’ interests above their own business interests, lobbyists or other political bullies. Remove those who don’t quickly.
Write, call or stop by your representatives’ office and let them know what you expect from them. They’re home now, and they need to hear from you.