Members of Rockbridge Civil Discourse, a diverse group of Republicans, Democrats and Independents from across the ideological spectrum, believe that political polarization is one of the greatest threats to our nation today. But we also believe that far more unites us as Americans than divides us as political parties. Democrats and Republicans are not enemies but neighbors participating in democracy together. Because partisan rhetoric increasingly obscures our shared values of civility, principled compromise and reconciliation, we call on our elected officials to bridge divisions through bipartisan leadership.
That leadership begins with a simple pledge. As Virginia moves toward November elections, the temptation to motivate voters through inflammatory campaigning will only increase. We therefore call on all candidates to take the Civil Discourse pledge:
"As I campaign on the issues important to my district and country, I will refrain from personal attacks, demonizing language, and blatantly inflammatory partisan rhetoric that does not contribute to a positive climate for voters to evaluate the candidates and their positions."
Some candidates familiar with Rockbridge Civil Discourse have already endorsed the pledge. We now call on everyone running for state Delegate, state Senate, and county Board of Supervisors seats to take it too. We will wait two weeks for all area campaigns to respond before publishing a follow-up letter thanking candidates by name for their support.
Making our nation better begins at home. Uniting Rockbridge around shared American values is our first step.
HELEN KNIGHT FARRAR
LYNNE REILLY GRIFFITH
CHARLES W.J. KOSTELNI
SUSAN HAWTHORNE LAWRENCE
GRETCHEN D. SUKOW
LUCY TILSON SNOW
MARY COUPLAND PETERSON