Letter: Being civil doesn’t mean being silent


We’d like to respond to Tom Strang’s letter to the editor saying that “civility” isn’t in the First Amendment, and that he has “found it to be a Trojan horse of censorship.”

He went on to say that “there is the value in freedom of speech, discussion and debate.”

Civility First values very much freedom of speech, discussion and debate. Making it possible in these fractious times is exactly why we developed our pledge. Mr. Strang is expressing a common impression that “civility” asks us to be silent.

On the contrary, if you read our July 3 letter to the editor on civility and anger, civility makes it possible to exercise your First Amendment rights in strong and persuasive ways.

I invite Mr. Strang and everyone in Island County to attend our Civility Month event on Oct. 14, where two authors will describe “weak civility” (being polite instead of saying what’s on your mind), “pseudo-civility” (pretending to be polite, but actually being uncivil) and “strong civility” (staying respectful while stating your opinion/beliefs so that others can really hear them). This and other Civility Month events might help remind us all that civility is a powerful tool for using our First Amendment rights without violating others’. We’d also invite everyone to check out our pledge and see if it isn’t how we’d all like others to communicate with us. We thank Mr. Strang for bringing up this common misconception, and invite him, and everyone, to check out our Civility Month events at www.civilityfirst.org

Civility First board members

Kate Bracy, Edie Nelson-Surface, Sandi Peterson and Cathy Whitmire, Clinton

Charles Terry, Langley

Gary Wray, Oak Harbor

Charlotte Fairfield, Coupeville

More in Letters to the Editor

Letter: A place on Whidbey to take family

Editor, Spring is fast approaching, and nowhere is it more evident than… Continue reading

Letter: Don’t like the deer in Coupeville? Move to the city

Editor, Regarding the deer in Coupeville article by Kira Erickson in the… Continue reading

Letter: Trump thought he might lose reelection bid

Editor, Why I think former President Trump thought he might lose re-election… Continue reading

Letter: Tantamount to fake wrestling, the kind with bad hair

Editor, This is a response to a letter by Edward Drum, who… Continue reading

Letter: Attacks on AP history teacher unfounded

Editor, We’ve heard from some very opinionated folks on the state of… Continue reading

Letter: UW prof’s idea for tunnel is full of holes

Editor, The UW prof’s idea for a tunnel to replace the Clinton-to-Mukilteo… Continue reading

Letter: Allowed to voice concerns about kids’ education

Editor, As the father of two children, I would like to take… Continue reading

Letter: Vaccinations went quickly, seamlessly

Editor, What a great community we live in. My husband and I… Continue reading

Letter: Don’t censor, but sharing Drum letter unnecessary

Editor, I’d like to take a moment to address the letter from… Continue reading

Most Read