Print Cottonwood City Council signs a Civility Accord
Written by Greg Ruland   
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 00:00

All seven members of the Cottonwood City Council promised to choose their words carefully and work to understand other points of view by signing a Civility Accord on July 7.

The Jan. 8 shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords [D-District 8] and 18 others in Tucson was the impetus for the accord, Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens said.The Jan. 8 shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords [D-District 8] and 18 others in Tucson was the impetus for the accord, Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens said.

A federal judge and a 9-year-old girl were among the six people killed that day. Thirteen others were injured in the shooting.

“Regardless of what motives behind the tragedy in Tucson might have been, it occurred in an atmosphere in which public discourse is often confrontational and lacking in civility,” the accord states.

“Because mayors and council members are the elected leaders closest to the people, restoration of civility must begin with us,” the accord states.

Council members pledged to:

  • Respect the right of all Americans to hold different opinions.
  • Avoid rhetoric intended to humiliate, delegitimize or question the patriotism of those whose opinions are different than ours.
  • Strive to understand differing perspectives.
  • Choose words carefully.
  • Speak truthfully without accusation and avoid distortion.
  • Speak out against violence, prejudice, and incivility in all their forms, whenever and wherever they occur.

“We pledge to exhibit and encourage the kinds of personal qualities that are emblematic of a civil society: gratitude, humility, openness, passion for service to others, propriety, kindness, faith, sense of duty, and a commitment to doing what is right.”

Newly elected Councilman Jesse Dowling said he agreed to the accord because of heated rhetoric he has heard from state and national leaders.

“It’s important we treat each other with respect,” Dowling said. “We can work together and get our work done but only if we treat each other as we want to be treated.”

“It’s the Golden Rule, basically,” he said.

“We are in a unique position to have a positive impact on behavior — individual and collective — and to lead by example,” the accord states.