The National Institute for Civil Discourse and 24 bipartisan leaders, including former U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, issued a joint statement urging President-elect Donald Trump and the new Republican-led Congress to lead with civility, to seek compromise and to put country before party.
Calling for Trump to “set a much-needed tone of civility, respect, and bipartisanship,” the group also urged Congress to “take up the cause of civility, respect and statesmanship in the name not only of our founding fathers who created this great republic, but for the sake of our children’s future and the future of our nation,” their statement read.
Other prominent Americans to sign the document include: former U.S. Senators Thomas A. Daschle, Richard Lugar and Olympia J. Snowe; former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and journalists Katie Couric of Yahoo News and former FOX News host Greta Van Susteren.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse is a nonpartisan organization based at the University of Arizona that works to curb incivility and political dysfunction through structural and behavioral change.
While most Americans say it’s bad politics to belittle or insult opponents, 15 percent more people – 47 million – find it acceptable today than in 2010, the institute reported. Likewise, the institute reports nearly half of Americans – up 25 percent from 1999 – feel it’s okay to interrupt someone you disagree with in a public forum.
“The presidential election of 2016 will be recorded as one of the most bitter elections in the shared history of our nation,” the group wrote. “While we cannot change this fact, we can commit to standing together to ensure that America’s next chapter is civil and respectful and focuses on working together to move our country forward.”