My Pledge to Political Candidates Everywhere
I recently wrote about our nation-wide problem of too few people wanting to go into politics. Through Definitely Someday, I'm working on the problem from a supply side approach. But as a private citizen, a consumer of political services, and as a constituent to elected officials, it is my responsibility to make our discourse as civil as possible.
As much as I dislike pledges in political campaigns, I'm making one myself. Candidates and elected officials, here's my seven-point pledge to you:
I hereby pledge to make my social media a non-toxic zone. I will not attack you personally, and only focus on your qualifications and positions on issues.
I pledge not to comment on your appearance or clothing choices.
I pledge to leave your family out of any discussion about your candidacy or governing, as long as they do not independently seek the limelight. Giving an interview is seeking the limelight. Going to the grocery store is not.
I pledge to only use language I want my favorite third-grader to use on the playground. I will not refer to you in derogatory terms or any of the FCC's seven dirty words. I will not use "stupid." I might use "ill-advised."
I pledge to call you out when I believe you are wrong. Because blind approval is as dangerous as blind opposition.
I pledge to reward you with my vote for compromising. Elected officials who take a hard line (even if they're upholding a position I support) but refuse to even talk about or negotiate an issue will lose points with me. If you change your mind based on new evidence, just tell me why. I admire intelligence and thoughtful deliberation, and I want you to strive for the best positions, not just the politically safest.
I pledge to vote. If you will do your part to serve our community, I will do my part and be an informed consumer of that service.
Think about how much better our public discourse would be if we all took this pledge. I'm willing to be the first. Who's with me?