The Rigell Report: On Civility
The Virginian-Pilot recently published an editorial called ‘Shoring Up Civility.’ It spoke of the shared desire of so many Americans to move past the hyper-partisan, coarse rhetoric we too often hear from Washington, D.C., and to get down to the business of addressing America’s serious challenges. I could not agree more, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you how I am trying to do this as your representative.
In my 16 months in Congress, I have spoken often – and from many venues, including the House floor – of our need to consider three important things when we deal with one another: tone, facts, and motives.
First, our tone. We must strive for a respectful tone when addressing one another – even and especially toward those with whom we disagree. Our disagreements are not personal. They are over policy matters, and our tone should reflect this.
Second, we must seek out and rely upon the facts of a situation at all times. We cannot make decisions on anything but the true, empirical facts. I could not run my business based on emotion or personal opinion – and we cannot run the greatest country in the world on those either.
Lastly, we must not question the motives of those with whom we disagree. For example, I am a Republican, and job creation is my number one priority. But I do not doubt for one moment that my friends who are Democrats – and the President himself – get up each and every day wanting to do that very same thing: create jobs for Americans. It is not the goals we disagree upon, it is simply the ways we achieve those goals where we diverge. (Editor’s emphasis)
We face great challenges as a nation. As we look to repair and heal our Republic, it is important that we seek civility as we also seek common ground. These are the values and ideals I take with me each day as your Congressman, and I appreciate having the chance to share them with you.
Mindful that I work for you, I remain
Yours in Freedom,