Topic provided by Guy Heywood
Monday, November 14, 2011
Civic engagement or Civil engagement?
Everyone knows how important civic engagement is to me - see the Report of my Civic Engagement Task from last term. But how important is civil engagement to our community? This evening, I received a voicemail message from a constituent. He wanted to know my position on a particular topic. He asked me to return his call, but he also told me not to bother if I disagreed with him. Dilemma: knowing that we probably did not agree, should I return the call anyway? Good manners won out, and I returned the call. As I began to tell him my position on the issue, he hung up on me. I have a thick skin from many years in local politics, so it did not trouble me too much. But it made me think of this question for the North Vancouver Politics forum: how important is civility in today's politics? Jack Loucks used to say, "It's okay to disagree, but not be disagreeable." How do we disagree on and debate difficult topics without disrespecting people and process?