This I Believe

Jay - Sturgis, Michigan
Entered on May 24, 2006

I believe in Civility. Not the civility that says I dare not disagree with your point-of-view. I believe in the civility that says I may disagree but if I do I will honor and respect your right to hold to your own opinion. We seem to have lost that civil voice. The shock-jocks and opinion-mongers seem to have co-opted the American vision but I believe it can be regained. I believe this because I have found that there are millions of Americans who are just waiting for an opportunity to make a difference. I believe that these Americans can provide a better quality of life for all people within their communities and it doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is, it matters only that you have a heart that cares. In addition, I believe these Americans can be more efficient and effective through uniting with a common vision, purpose, and approach. This vision, purpose, and approach will create a process for constructive planned action. The process does not recognize conservative or liberal, it only recognizes humanity and the essential goodness of God’s creation.

I believe that we need a process for improving our communities, and ultimately our entire world, that is founded in civility. To that end, I offer this civility pledge which is derived from a book I co-authored with Kent Roberts titled Bring a Dish to Pass: The Civil Action of Community Improvement.

In all of my daily interactions I pledge to do my best to:

 View everyone in positive terms

 Work on building common language

 Build strong relationships of trust

 Remember our shared humanity

 Value both the process and the results

 Look both inside and outside for guidance

Through this pledge I acknowledge that:

“Everyone has the right and the responsibility to improve his or her community, and if we all work together—in a well planned way, addressing the factors that affect all of our lives—we can make a difference for all families. As members of society, we are all resources and agents of change.”

I believe that we, the everyday people, can change our world and that it will be done through “civil action.” I believe it will be millions of people, learning to pull together and causing a ground swell of connections on a heart-to-heart level. These connections will lead to fundamental changes in how we relate to one another. I believe that no matter what our background, beliefs, and philosophies are, there are more similarities than differences. I believe that when we look for what we have in common we will see something amazing in the eyes of others; we will see ourselves.