Listen up, nasty commenters: Boise State's David Adler offers five ways to improve civil discourse

David Gray Adler has penned a fine essay about "too much yelling" that I hope all who comment on this site will read and heed.

If I could, I would make Adler's insights required reading, in hopes he appeals to the professed patriotism of some who seem to think poisonous rhetoric contributes to self-governance. I'll admit it: I'm disheartened by the name-calling and off-the-topic attacks and I think Dr. Adler's prescriptions may help.

Adler, a presidential scholar, is the Cecil D. Andrus Professor of Public Affairs at Boise State. He also has taught at Idaho State and the University of Idaho.

"Presidential Power, government accountability and the challenges of an informed — or uninformed — electorate," appears in the summer newsletter of the Idaho Humanities Council.

Adler summarizes the constitutional origins of shared powers, the rise of presidential authority and the decline of the civic engagement critical to making the republic function as the Founders intended.

Adler discusses the Tea Party and Occupy movements, both aiming to "take back our government" and "restore our Constitution," but says incivility undermines their efforts.

"But while the intentions and motives have been laudable there has been a general lament about the quality of civic dialogue, in particular, an absence of civility, which undermines influence and deters growth in the numbers of those who would engage in protest," writes Alder. "In recent years, frankly, the quality of public debate has been disappointing. As a nation, we have witnessed too much yelling, too much incivility, and too much demagoguery."

Adler offers "five modest suggestions to improve the quality of our civil discourse."

Here they are:

1. Stop Political Labeling.

2. Listen.

3. Citizens Must Be Fair To One Another.

4. Avoid the Politics of Destruction.

5. Avoid Ideological Rigidity.

Please, follow the link and read Adler's thoughts. They begin on Page 1, at the top left on the PDF, and jump to Pages 4, 5 and 12.

My birthday's next week. A very nice gift would be a resolution on the part of contributors to this blog to carefully consider the thinking of one of Idaho's most distinguished scholars. You've been paying his salary for years; take a look at what you're getting for your money.

(End Rant).

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You better toughen up popoff

You better toughen up popoff and realize the 1st amendment was NOT meant JUST for the socialist left ideology. You seem to willingly forget the names that Bush and the right endured FOR EIGHT YEARS BY THE LEFT. What did you have to say about that back then? Pleeeeese... Now the left want to be cry babies? Laughable. You in your columns swing so far to the left a blind man could see it. I use to think the media were suppose to report the news. NOT ANYMORE, they want to make it and and then expect those of us on the right to be quite and not be passionate about OUR ideology. For sure, tis to ponder.....

My skin's pretty thick, Redneck

...I worry more about driving people away who are turned off by the personal attacks.

And I agree, ugliness comes from across the spectrum.

I hope you read Adler's essay.

Dan Popkey

LOL :) Riiiiiight! Sure ya

LOL :) Riiiiiight! Sure ya are. Try for some balance in your articles to start if you really are are you say concerned (cough, cough)

Then stop redirecting readers to Voices.

Stop using Voices as 'practice' for the main editorial page.

We aren't guinea pigs and if you haven't got a firm opinion down by dateline, don't publish it.

I get the distinct feeling that isn't what you nor I were truly aiming at but it does raise a point.

When you write all this vitriol dog and pony stuff you in effect become the troll leaders. Maybe you get what you give and we're not freaks OR ROBOTS. It bugs us to no end.

Write a paper. PLEASE?


You fry wants with that?

WHAT STORY? I clicked and I saw naught.

You made this up to incite a flame war on the main site.

And that's what we got with the tattooed guy that smashed a guy's jaw.

A CIRCUS, juat like the one we had when the woman 'fell out' of a car on I-84 a couple years ago.

You may recall the hillbilly chorus that followed, all claiming to be family.

I do...I didn't kill the bookmark for many moons.


You want me to stand up for civility and then fail to moderate this story one bit?


You are undoubtedly vying for an editorial position on The Onion.

I'm a bit disgusted I had to not only endure it but run it into the freakin' tarmac.

I hope YOU read it. This had as much class as Vladimir Putin.


You fry wants with that?


First horse out of the gate manages to break all five suggestions!

We don't need none of your socialist "civil discourse" 'round these here parts!


Just wants to get along. What else would one expect from the the Liberal Left Wing Choir Director of the "Marxist Tap Dancing Clown Chorus"?

What a shame

Instead of commenting on the contents of the essay, many of us choose personal attacks on the person who brought the essay to our attention. Mr. Adler is right and it's a real shame.


cited the highlights of the essay and thus cynically as well as hypocritically, took them as his own "beard". Standard practice for a Liberal Leftist "journalist".

Cat's outta the Shorty Market paper bag with the bottle now.


You fry wants with that?

PS 'civil discourse' really IS an oxymoron.


You fry wants with that?

Popkey and the left are losing the narrative.

While OWS screamed,killed, and raped in the streets of America the last 18 months the left was silent about civility. Now OWS has lost their mojo and Popkey wheels out some civility college prof.

You can tell when the left is losing they always tell everyone to tone it down.

Brotherhood is the only medicine that can heal. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences, but don't lay some trip on me after you lost the rush.


is to the newsletter.
Where's this profound essay?

This just illustrates

the type of nasty trolls us liberals are subjected to on a daily basis.

Speaking of nasty trolls.

Troll, seems to be getting difficult to separate the Libs from the Chi-Coms. Or are you one of those Neo Liberal Anarcho Syndicalists Check it out for yourself.



You fry wants with that?

I AM a LIBERAL, whatever that is. You're out of luck there.


You fry wants with that?

I dont listen to dems


they are one-sided....

I am very middle name is civil....

I thought your middle name was Ex-chukar?


You fry wants with that?

This is a HUMOR website! Who's trying to be CIVIL?


You fry wants with that?

PS Let him stop labeling US. Can't win that game.


You fry wants with that?

I am almost---AM of the opinion you tried to incite a flame war.

No coincidence be tha attempted boardin of yar Statesman by somebody posin as the lilsis of a thug what smashed a foul, boasty mug in ire?

Aye, that end tis ere. Unplug thee drain.


You fry wants with that?