Season of Silly continues: “Civility Institute” to open in AZ

Via the NYT:

The University of Arizona — whose Tucson campus President Obama used for his nationwide address on civility after the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords last month — will announce on Monday that it is establishing an institute to promote compromise among opposing political parties and views, the organization’s director said on Sunday.

The honorary chairmen of the foundation, to be called the National Institute for Civil Discourse, will be President Bill Clinton and President George H. W. Bush, said the director, Brint Milward, who also leads the university’s School of Government and Public Policy.

Dr. Milward said the institute would focus on political disagreements “from the grass roots all the way to the top.”

“In a great democracy, it’s important for people to hold fast to principles, but at the same time to understand where they might be able to compromise,” he said.

The idea for the institute, he said, grew out of the national conversation that began in January after the shootings in Tucson that killed six people and injured 13 others, including Ms. Giffords, a Democrat who represented the Tucson area in Congress. Politicians and pundits raised questions and criticisms about the nation’s political discourse, with many calling for calmer rhetoric while pointing out commentary they considered incendiary.


One portion of the speech was particularly inspiring for Fred DuVal, vice chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents, who came up with the idea for the institute while listening to the president’s address.

Mr. Obama, speaking of Christina-Taylor Green, 9, the youngest victim of the shooting, said he wanted an American democracy as “good as Christina imagined it.”

Mr. DuVal, who was a friend of Ms. Giffords’s and was a co-chairman of her finance committee, said he hoped the institute would be one way the nation could work toward such a goal. One of the first steps, he said, would be to attempt defining “best practices and corrosive practices.”

“How do we nurture robustness on one hand and not in any way chill speech, and keep it in bounds that are not destructive to democracy?” he said. “Will it change the nature of dialogue? That will be a tall order.”

Hmmm. I’m thinking that a much better, more fitting place to start such an institute would be, say, Wisconsin or … DC? Nah, that would make too much sense and put too much of the focus on from where the majority of hateful, “old tone” rhetoric comes: The left, starting with the high and mighty movers and shakers like left wing financier and hater of conservatives George Soros. Won’t happen, though, because it works out much better for the left to keep the myth alive that the attempted murder of Rep. Giffords was the result of “violent right wing rhetoric”, so naturally America needs a “civility institute” near the scene of the crime.

In much happier news, Giffords continues to make good progress in her recovery:

HOUSTON – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continues to show progress in her recovery at a Houston rehabilitation hospital.

KGUN9 reports that Tucson Rabbi Stephanie Aaron just returned from visiting the congresswoman in Texas and says Giffords chanted prayers with her and even sang the nine minute folk rock classic, Don McLean’s, “American Pie.”

“So Mark and his daughters were singing with her, singing “American Pie” and Gabby was singing with it,” Aaron said. “Honestly, she knew more of the words then they did and she was singing it, so it’s very wonderful.”

Aaron said they sang about three verses of the lengthy song.


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