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Gov. Snyder’s Special Message on Civility in Public Discourse

Hello friends!

As individuals and organizations that are deeply involved in public policy you, more than most, are very aware that Michigan is in the middle of statewide discussions about a wide range of policy options and the future direction and leadership of our state at every level.

Regardless of whether you have agreed or disagreed with my policy ideas or governance, I hope you feel that I’ve tried to stay true to the concept that an open exchange of ideas and treating each other with civility is of critical importance. I am committed to maintaining this guiding principle until my last day in office and beyond. Unfortunately with increasing frequency across all political spectrums, we are seeing a complete decline in decorum within public discourse. We’ve witnessed certain individuals and entities making threats and calling for violence against those that simply have a differing opinion on public policy matters. This alarming development in our state should be of great concern to all of us, regardless of your own positions or philosophical leanings.

In light of this , I am asking you to speak out as a diverse group about the need for civility in our discourse – without pointing fingers or admonishing any one group. I am specifically asking for your organization to sign on to an Open Letter to this end. It is critical that a diverse set of voices (Republicans, Democrats, Business, Labor, for-profit, non-profit, educators, local governments, faith-based leaders etc.…) that represent varying and sometimes opposing views speak out that respectful discourse is imperative.

The goal of this Open Letter is to have 100+ voices and organizations signed on to this letter which we would like published in regional and statewide publications this week and on a website to come. I am Inviting you to join this effort ASAP. We would like the name of your leader and the organization name listed. Our goal is to have this printed by Thursday – therefore I would appreciate your consideration immediately. I also ask you to share this with your members and own contact lists, this request is not exclusive.  

Please let my staff know directly if your organization would like to be added to this important effort and specify who/how you would like this listed  (the individuals name, and the name of the organization.)  You can do so by emailing Tricia Kinley directly at KinleyT@michigan.gov. We would appreciate knowing by the Close of Business on Wednesday, July 18 in order to meet statewide publication deadlines. We can add more to the website after that date as well.

My hope with this endeavor is that this will be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue about civility. Michigan is an exceptional place to call our home, and this is our opportunity together to show our residents that Michigan is a leader in treating people with respect and grace.

Thanks,

Rick

Open Letter Regarding Civility in Public Discourse

We, the undersigned, representing a diverse group of citizens dedicated to the principles that made this country great, do hereby commit to standing up for civility in public debate and discussions of policy.

 The United States is a great nation because we can find ways to work together, create solutions and solve problems. Our great country is increasingly at risk of losing its way as we see debate and discussion turn into personal attacks and vicious threats. Discouraging people from public engagement while leaving issues unaddressed is not the America we know it to truly be.

 We stand committed and we stand together to focus discussions and debates on the issues at hand. We are not saying we will always agree on the solutions to problems, or even on what the most important problems are. We stand ready to speak up for what we believe in and advocate for the best solutions we can support. But — most important — we stand together for civility and we encourage others to join us.

 Michigan can show the world how we can disagree without being disagreeable, how we can debate without personal attacks, and how we can solve more problems together than we can apart.