But in a year leading up to a presidential election—a year characterized by angry, discordant, even hostile voices filling airwaves, town halls, and message boards—many have worried about collateral damage to the public square. Has the healthy debate at the heart of America eroded in recent decades to mere bickering and intolerance? Can a society so marked by distrust and division realize the productive, unifying goals of democracy?
In recent events at BYU, prominent voices have called for an end to hostilities. While debate must continue, these speakers believe it can happen with more respect, inclusiveness, civility, and goodwill. In the following adaptations of campus addresses, visitors argue for a renewal of the public square, where all can be part of a political debate that is at once impassioned and respectful.
Campaigning for Civility, by Mark DeMoss
The Case for Partisanship, by Karen Weggeland Hale (’80)
Religious Democracy, by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman
The Work of Civility, by Judge Thomas B. Griffith (BA ’78)