Seeking Civility in Political Discourse
If you applied for any job, would you publicly discredit the other candidates for the position in hopes of getting it yourself? Why is this technique practiced and accepted in running for political office in the United States, including in the race for the presidency? Why is political discourse in the United States so contentious and conflict-ridden, in general? Has it always been this way? Are we stuck with it or can citizens press for change? Host Suzanne Kryder talked with a panel to explore these questions. Guests included former Albuquerque Tribune managing editor Kate Nelson, Dr. Gilbert St. Clair, a lecturer in political science at the University of New Mexico and Dr. Guy Burgess, co-director of the Conflict Research Consortium at the University of Colorado. The show was complimented by interviews with citizens and samples of political ads from the last 50 years. Part One focused on the tone of political discourse throughout history and why political speech between politicians today is so contentious. Part Two spotlighted campaign advertising, the role of the media in setting the tone, and initiatives underway in some places to improve the tone.