by Haya Luftig
New York – This presidential election season, more than any in recent memory, has been marked with hostile, acrimonious and demeaning rhetoric. Leading up to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, in an effort to advance civil discourse, the JCPA called for civility by offering language to each party’s platform in a letter joined by 31 national faith-based organizations.
Although we were disappointed that the language was not adopted by both parties, we are pleased the following language has been included in the Democratic Party Platform:
“We need to promote civility and speak out against bigotry and other forms of intolerance that have entered our political discourse. It is unacceptable to target, defame, or exclude anyone because of their religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, or sexual orientation. While freedom of expression is a fundamental constitutional principle, we must condemn hate speech that creates a fertile climate for violence.” (Guaranteeing Civil Rights section, page 18).
“Political discourse will only improve when people of good will from both parties insist on civility and call out their own candidates and activists when they cross the line,” said David Bernstein, President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
As we enter the final 100 days of the 2016 election, we call upon the presidential candidates and their surrogates to engage in a thoughtful, respectful, and civil discussion over the future direction of this country. Let us all strive to make our politics represent the best of American values — free thought, mutual respect, and civic engagement.