Civility is in You

While I was driving to Frankenmuth on my family’s annual holiday pilgrimage, I noticed a new billboard sign that I have not seen before. You know, the signs on the highway that share uplifting messages to drivers passing by? These campaigns have several great and worthy inspirational messages, but this billboard stood out. It featured America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, with a simple message: “A house divided…cannot stand.” Civility is
in you. 

Besides the hunting season and Thanksgiving, November is also the month for our general elections. Throughout the years, especially these past two election cycles, it feels as if we have lost our way on how to be civil to each other when we have a difference of opinion on issues that are important to all of us. At the national level it has become polarized, which has slowly spilled into the state and local levels. Some say civility is dead. For me, I don’t think so. Though we live in the Capital City and it may be more political than other regions around the state, we have been able to bring people together from all walks of life (and political ideologies) and work on significant issues.

It’s important to highlight significant examples of initiatives:

  • Earlier this year when we experienced historic flooding in Lansing, all levels of government came together to take quick action on assisting residents and businesses. From Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes to Gov. Snyder’s administration to Congressman Mike Bishop helping with FEMA assistance, this was an example of elected officials working together across geographic and political boundaries during an emergency.

  • In 2016, the Capital Council of Governments (CAPCOG) formed an alliance among the Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties boards of commissioners, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and Michigan State University, focused on working across geographic and political boundaries to advocate for regional priorities. This is the first time in our region where the focus is on priorities that will benefit the entire region, not just certain communities. We are all Lansing.

  • This past summer, an unprecedented group of business, education, labor, philanthropic, state and community leaders joined together as “Launch Michigan” to work toward the common goal of becoming a top-10 state for education. This unlikely group of allies has pledged to work together to turn Michigan into a leader in educational excellence with lasting, research-driven strategies that transcend politics and election cycles. Learn more at launchmichigan.org.

  • At the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, our political action committee has incorporated questions on how candidates will work with each other and reach across the aisle at all levels of government. As business and community leaders we must stress the importance of civility in public discourse. We’re
    stronger together.

I believe once you get past the negative Facebook posts or tweets and look at the initiatives and groups working together to make our communities better, civility is alive and well in our region. Whatever happens on
Nov. 6, no matter what differences we may have, we must work together to strengthen our bond, our community, state and nation

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