Is there any better evidence that incivility is increasingly in disfavor than the imminent success of the Tolerance Fair, an event at the I-X Center this Sunday that anticipates a crowd of thousands? (Check out this WKYC video of Justin Bachman, 15, the inspiration for the fair, to hear more about its creation and evolution.)

What other signs can we see? Here's a list I put together in just a few minutes; I know there are many more:

*Former Ohio Congressman , Steve LaTourette, launches Main Street Advocacy. From its home page:

To find the solutions to the challenges we face as a nation, we need to put together a governing coalition – capable of and committed to making Washington work again.  To build a governing coalition, we must reach out to independents, disaffected Democrats, centrists, suburbanites and young voters. To do so we must offer pragmatic, common sense solutions to the complex challenges facing our country today.

Unity instead of division, a commitment to core principles, and a party with a proud past and an optimistic future – THAT’S Main Street Advocacy!

*Former Ohio state representative, Ted Celeste, is bringing his dedication to dialogue at the state legislature level to others through work with the National Institute for Civil Discourse. The NICD's project, Your Words Count, likewise emphasizes dialogue and relationships as key to governing and democracy.

*As Oberlin College works to manage numerous hate speech-related instances in their community, they rely on civil but firm discourse to process the issues.

*Dan blogged earlier this week about a recent New York Times column, "This Story Stinks." He posits, do the comments have to stink?

*Even President Obama is getting into the act. After being criticized roundly for not engaging adequately with folks on the Hill, he's reportedly made multiple calls to Republican senators over the last few days and tonight, he will be having dinner with several of them. Hell. Freezing. Now?

*The notion of having conversations is even making it into the commercials of big companies like PNC and advocacy entites like Energy From Shale. Kinder, gentler indeed.

*Finally, circling back to what I started with, the Tolerance Fair. From their description:

At the Tolerance Fair, you will see over 100 charity and advocacy groups, all with the following goals

    • Show the importance of understanding people's differences
    • Highlight ways in which people can make a difference by giving back to their community
    • Highlight resources available to people who need help to manage their differences
    • Showcase that Northeast Ohio is filled with cities inspired to create tolerant and accepting living environments
Have you ever wondered what life would be like in a wheel chair or without the ability to see?  At the Tolerance Fair, you will have the opportunity to play basketball and soccer in a wheel chair and participate in a number of interactive activities that will give you the chance to experience what it is like to navigate the world with different challenges.

 

Look at all our region's supporters who will be at the Fair, including the Civic Commons? (I hope to see you there!)

The need and desire to fight vehemently for principles propels many of us to accomplishments - personal, professional, individual, group. But possessing and using the wisdom involved in applying discretion to situations that demand solutions is what makes democracy function. Civility is endemic to a functioning democracy - and thank goodness it's looking more and more obvious that we prefer this.

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Copyright © 2013 Jill Miller Zimon; available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

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