COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A pair of Central Ohio lawmakers are launching a new effort to restore civility in Congress and across the country.
Representatives Joyce Beatty and Steve Stivers are political opposites but good friends and colleagues with a civil and respectful relationship. They have enlisted 10 other members of Congress -Democrats and Republicans – to join them as founding members of a Congressional Civility Caucus.
To join the caucus, members must be willing to commit to spreading a message of civility back in their districts, especially in schools.
“So if children go home and say to parents, ‘that wasn’t funny and that wasn’t civil’ whether its a commercial, whether its something the president of the United States says – it will keep it in the forefront,” Beatty said.
Stivers, a Republican, says the lack of civility extends well beyond the name-calling tweets from President Trump.
“I don’t pretend we’re going to change anybody if they don’t want to change. But there are 300 million Americans and this isn’t about one American. it’s about 300 million Americans and we all can set examples for our kids, and we should,” Stivers said.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona has already started a pilot project in Ohio to encourage people to promote civility. Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown is heading that effort and says people have to use their voice and their vote to respond to incivility.
“Our kids are watching. So if you wouldn’t want your child to hear that, the only way to solve the problem is to let people that act like that know that they can’t represent us,” McGee Brown said. “We can’t have legislation stalled because people are afraid of being tweeted about or given a nickname. I mean that’s high school stuff and we teach our kids not to bully each other. We can’t allow that behavior to go forward.”