Everyone likes to invoke our Founders so much lately, so I'm invoking Thomas Paine.
Paine was a revolutionary, philosopher, political theorist, and activist. Much of what he wrote has particular relevance today in this toxic election season.
What I want is a political system where civil discourse and a mutual desire to improve and enhance the lives of all Americans are the ultimate goal. Not some throwback to the 1950's or the antebellum South that excluded so many of us from achieving the American Dream.
The point is simple: Elections are important. How can we debate the 2016 election in a way that recognizes that gravity? To me, improving our discourse means rising above "the impulse to do harm," which is something humans naturally feel after being slighted.
Every conversation I am in about this year's presidential primary campaign regardless of the person's political affiliation quickly evolves into an expression of strong feeling and concern about what it reflects about the current state of our political dysfunction.
Freedom of speech is a very precious and increasingly fragile foundation of American democracy. And it is very worrying that the latest attacks - attacks that have been full frontal - are coming from people who are running for the highest office in the land.
However, great leaders are not robots. They are human beings whose hearts are attuned to where they are, who they are with, now. They are able to share their basic message in ways that are unique and fresh each time they speak.
Just last week, a large survey of citizens asserted loudly their dislike of the rampant incivility in our nation. NICD heard them - loud and clear. And I am deeply proud that several of our key programs, which are growing daily, are exactly the actions needed to turn the tide on incivility.
I will be honest. I really liked President Obama's State of the Union address. But then I really like Barack Obama and his belief in all of us. He has done more to benefit this country than anyone else, despite the meanness and spite that has continued to bubble under and above the surface.
I'm wondering, will Pope Francis' visit lead Americans to rethink the vitriolic spitwads they've been throwing at each other lately -- in public, in private and online? Pope Francis' patient, respectful speaking style puts to shame folks like the invective-spewing Donald Trump.
Let's honor those we mourn--animal and human--and the causes we hold dear by empathizing, strategizing and mobilizing. Let the killing of Cecil be a catalyst for moving all issues forward and not use it as an excuse to stay in the merry-go-around of anger, judgment and contempt.
Oxfam International released a report this week, just as the World Economic Forum opens in Davos Switzerland, which projects that by 2016, 1 percent of the population will control more than 50 percent of the wealth.
Representative John Boehner was reelected as Speaker of the House this week, surviving a challenge from the far right as the 114th U.S. Congress, with Republican leadership in both Houses, began its work.
The idea that that we might live in a post-racial society -- a concept that became a topic of national discussion among the pundits after the election of President Barak Obama -- has slinked into a dark corner in recent weeks.
We are hopeful the Majority Leader's words will lead to action on the part of House leadership and members on both sides of the aisle. Then Congress will be able to take action on the major issues facing our county.
Fast forward to today and we have a Highway Trust Fund with just 15 days of money left to function. Just like in 1955, anti-tax zealots have been trumping common sense and the nation's future on blatantly political grounds.
July 4th is a day when we all need to slow to the rhythms of the summer heat, pause, listen to one another, remember the goals and dreams that were articulated by our Founding Fathers in 1776 and still hold true today.
As we continue our path to promote civil discourse with our elected officials, in the media, and throughout our homes, we honor Dr. Angelou. She has set the path for how best it can be done: through the powerful use of words.