BY BECKY SHANKLAND AND BARBARA CALEF
League Of Women Voters of Los Alamos
The League of Women Voters of Los Alamos would like to clarify that our message in the letter calling for civil discourse published in the Los Alamos Reporter on March 2, 2022 (https://losalamosreporter.com/2022/03/02/civility-why-it-matters) applies to everyone who participates in our local politics, elected officials and members of the public alike.
It is essential for a healthy democracy that all sides in a discussion practice civil discourse, including words, tone, and actions. Our letter on March 3 listed many features of civil discourse, such as avoiding distortion and avoiding rhetoric intended to humiliate, malign, or question the motivation of those whose opinions are different from yours. Civility is both what you say and how you say it.
The League’s position on civility does not imply any curtailing of First Amendment rights or limiting public engagement. But we urge all parties — elected officials who are entrusted with governmental power and members of the public who hold precious the right to free speech — to wield their power, rights, and words in a civil manner.
A civil political atmosphere that allows for enthusiastic debate, dissent, and creating consensus is the best path to a truly democratic society.