Without civil discourse, a vibrant and productive civil society cannot exist; a representative democracy presupposes that its members can discuss challenging issues with the goal of resolving them.
This is especially true in the United States, where citizenship is based on adherence to a set of ideas and principles, not ethnicity, religion or gender. Sometimes, and seemingly paradoxically, a commitment to the spirit of compromise may be required. We can create a nation where important policy decisions affecting our future are made through a process of critical analysis of facts and informed participation of all citizens if we commit to robust civil discourse.
"Unfortunately civility is hard to codify or legislate, but you know it when you see it. It's possible to disagree without being disagreeable."
— Justice Sandra Day O’Connor