Response To Brandi Engeman’s Letter Regarding LWV Column On Civility


I would like to comment on Brandi Engeman’s response to the League of Women Voters (LWV) Co-Presidents Message on civility and correct the misinformation in it.  (The original message on civility can be found in the LWV March 2022 Newsletter.)

  1. “The women’s suffrage movement was often violent.” she says.  According to the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, “The suffragists crafted a political movement that was powerful and ultimately effectively and – importantly – non-violent.  These women were extremely proud that there was no violence used by the women.  The only violence was TOWARD the women by the male-dominated political system.” (Turning Point Suffragist Memorial)
  2. An excellent article titled “Tactics And Techniques Of The National Woman’s Party Suffrage Campaign”, should be required reading.  It describes their tactics as “creative publicity stunts, repeated acts of nonviolent confrontation, and examples of civil disobedience” (italics are mine).
  3. She speaks of an implication that  “something malicious is happening” at County Council.  I need to have pointed out to me just which words in the message imply maliciousness.  I see none.  Maybe there are such implications in the mind of the beholder, but not in the message.
  4. She asks that the League reissue their statement.  I agree.  It should be enshrined by printing up a large poster and posting it at meetings.  A possible addendum might be something like “This message is intended to  support and defend those participants who remain civil and not to discourage anyone from speaking their mind.”  

Disagreement and argument are important civil rights.  Name-calling and personal attacks are also civil rights, but they are disruptive and do not contribute anything to a political debate.  The LWV has long had fair and widely accepted rules for its political forums.  In those rules, as well as in their Voter Guides, it is specifically stated that such unproductive behaviors are prohibited.