Civic discourse is the hallmark of our democracy. Americans’ right to free speech is enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Alaskans have that right but also an obligation to one another and the state, as articulated in Alaska’s Constitution.
As Alaskans, we have the responsibility to engage in civic discourse. We have the responsibility to engage with one another on issues facing the state, learning from one another, sharing our stories and acting as an informed citizenry.
Certainly there is a difference between civic discourse and civil discourse; however, civility is the legacy that Alaskans must work toward leaving.
Civic discourse has to do with public policy decision-making and commenting on that process, in the midst of an increasingly diverse array of perspectives, many of which are confident that the position they stake out is the only one.
Civil discourse is the ability to recognize that any public policydecision is going to be multi-faceted with its impact relevant to many different stakeholders, each of whom an individual who will win or lose in the process.
To address intractable issues, citizens must choose to engage in civil civic discourse.
Alaskans’ voices are heard clearly, and recognized as civil, when during our civic discourse we choose to present both sides of an argument.
Alaskans’ voices are heard and able to change hearts and minds, when during our civic discourse we advocate for all sides at the table.
Alaskans’ voices are heard and carry strength of conviction, when during our civic discourse we strive toward a fair and balanced outcome and win-win solutions are identified.
Alaskans’ voices are heard proudly, when during our civic discourse we demonstrate our shared responsibility to one another, our commitment to the state and our willingness to choose to elevate the conversation.
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