“Politics is fundamentally an exercise in human relations. And it’s an exercise which takes skill, strength, patience, and truckloads of hard, constant work.” – Sen. Mark Hatfield
It is a fact of life that we have to find a way to live together. While we all wish democracy would only be about the good things we can achieve through cooperation, the reality is there will be conflicts between even people who have the best of intentions. And, of course, there are some people who have less noble intentions, who "aim low" and try to make our politics nastier and possibly even violent. If we want a better and united Oregon, then our leaders and our citizens must come together and fight the forces of polarization that profit from tearing us apart. The "Positive Engagement Pledge" is an opportunity for our community of supporters to hold themselves to a higher standard that reflects well on Bernadette.
Furthermore, social media can often be an uncivil place where political opinions become entrenched and weaponized. But until Facebook and Twitter make some fundamental changes to their algorithm and user experience, we have to do our best to make these websites better places for doing democratic deliberation. Note that the social media rules of the "Positive Engagement Pledge" is derived from the same guidelines adhered to by campaign staff who post to the official campaign social media accounts.
[UPDATE] Sept. 27 — The Kirsten Collins for Dallas City Council campaign has joined in on the Positive Engagement Pledge. Can you think of another politician who should sign this pledge? Send them a message!
The Positive Engagement Pledge
When expressing my beliefs and values, and in particular when explaining why I support Bernadette Hansen's campaign for the Oregon state senate, I promise to:
- Listen to the other side, knowing that I might be missing the full picture.
- Express myself clearly and concisely, telling people why I personally care about an issue, rather than lecturing them about their vote or opinion.
- Not stereotype people based on their political party or preferred candidate.
- Not use threats of violence to advance a political agenda.
- Believe in the best of fellow Oregonians and demand our elected officials uphold the "Oregon Way" of doing politics.
As a social media supporter of the Bernadette Hansen for State Senate campaign, I promise to adhere to the following rules:
- Absolutely do not use slurs, profanity, or language that can be interpreted as slurs or profanity.
- No jokes at the expense of any people group.
- Remain respectful no matter how much vitriol is flung your way.
- Read your posts carefully, remembering that opposition will take lines of supporters out of context to reflect poorly on the candidate.
- No reposting of any memes, pictures, or statements that come from un-vetted sources.
- Refrain from using sarcasm or inside jokes when posting or responding to posts.
- Do not conduct or condone personal attacks on the opponent or the opponent’s family. Comments on the opponent’s statements, voting record, and public actions are acceptable.
I further promise, within one week of signing this pledge, to take one the following actions to better equip myself to engage in online conversations with fellow voters and citizens of District 12:
- Read the articles "How to Argue Successfully Online" (Coral) by Pedro Burgos and "Most people are bad at arguing. These 2 techniques will make you better." (Vox) by Brian Resnick.
- Watch the video "How to Disagree Productively and Find Common Ground" (TED) by Julia Dhar.
- Watch the video "To Win You Must Lose: How to Argue Better" (TEDxMcMinnville) by Dave Sumner.
- Or, complete the online training "Skills for Bridging the Divide Workshop" by Braver Angels.