By Stephanie R. South, TDC National Coordinator

The National Institute for Civil Discourse is trying to put civility back into political campaigns, and to that end, they are debuting a new project after Labor Day—the Respect or Reject Campaign. The Democracy Commitment is partnering up with NICD to spread the word because we believe this initiative has some real potential to help faculty members engage and empower their students during #e214.

Today, we offer you a preview of the project, so that you can begin to consider how you might incorporate it into your classrooms this fall. If you would like more guidance on that, the campaign has helped us create a brief resource for faculty members that can be found here.

Courtesy of Respect of Reject

The last presidential campaign season was one of the least civil campaigns we’ve ever experienced. This year’s midterm election campaign will undoubtedly bring the current polarized state of our democracy front and center, blaring negative campaign ads on our radios and TVs, and taking social media by storm with retweets and social shares that don’t keep pace with modern-day fact checking capacities.

We as citizens have become accustomed to seeing politicians launch campaign advertisements filled with vitriolic dialogue, sensational imagery, and less than respectful depictions of the opposing candidate. Holding them accountable for their actions is a key priority in encouraging candidates to run on a platform that focuses on the issues at hand and not on demonizing the other candidate.  This can only be accomplished if the public takes a stand and renounces the behavior.  We can help to fill this role by providing an avenue that helps people find their voice.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse will seek to frame the conversation around civility and give the public a place to take a stand against the behavior, rather than sensationalizing it. In this campaign, we’re not giving politicians a voice by retweeting them; we’re giving people a place to publically state that the behavior is unacceptable and undesired.

Visit to join the conversation about campaign ads and let’s take responsibility for the direction of our democracy.


Posted in TDC Partners & Friends on Aug 20, 2014