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Ozarks Tonight: Washington's Rules for Political Civility

On Ozarks Tonight, the rules for courteous political conversations.

Good evening and we're joined by an old friend who's been with us several times before, local conservative activist, we'll call you, Don Patterson.

And Don, you're also a blogger, and I wanted to have you on tonight to talk about your blog. It's called One Man's Opinion, and the subtitle is "we need to stand together with the president of this great nation."

So, we know you're on the conservative side of things, but you also bring this idea of civility and discourse, trying to actually find some degree of common ground.

Tell us about why the blog, and then we'll get into what you think is civil conversation.

"Over many years, I've written this in a format that's on some of the local stations in Alaska," Patterson said. "Right? That's where it started: One Man's Opinion."

Alaska. I have to ask are you, are you from Alaska?

"No, I spent 25 years up there," Patterson said. "OK, so anyway. The idea was is try to bring people together to say there's a common reason to talk, and there is a way to do it."

And you brought here George Washington's Rules of Civility.

Actually, it's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.

These are the rules you try to follow. No,w what would be some of the basic principles of Washington's civility?

"One of the things is the way you act between people," Patterson said. "First off, when you talk to somebody you talk to them. You're not looking at the audience. You're not looking at your collar or whatever. The idea is to be able to smile through whatever you're talking about so that you get a feeling that the other person is listening to you. At the same time, you're trying to convey your idea in a simple, straightforward, simple thing to understand."

What is the most challenging one issue where applying these rules of civility and decent behavior just get you caught up? You can't do it. You can't do it, Don, you've got to fight.

"Ok, one of the simple, you know, when you say political discourse, that's an oxymoron," Patterson said. "Political discourse, there's no such thing today. Back in Jefferson's day, there was a means of civility were people talked to each other with some common sense. Thomas Paine said, you know, if you use common sense in normal dialogue, people can understand and accept. They may not agree, but they will listen to what you have to say. The idea is getting people to listen to your point of view."


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