All too often, people speak off the cuff, without considering the impact of their words, only to later regret what they have said. Likewise, many people, especially those in a political environment, say things that are calculated to generate a particular emotional effect. In the first example, individuals, groups or associations may take exception to what was said, and feel a need to retort to avenge their hurt feelings. While in the second example, this may be an intended outcome. The Civility Scorecard is a tool that generates a score of any text input rated on society’s norms of what are generally acceptable. The more ‘civil’ a speech or dialogue is, the higher the score.
Utilizing a dynamic software tool to analyze speech for civil attributes, the results will provide an objective rating of the civility attributes contained in debates, speeches, articles and news report quotes. We propose to provide the public with the scored results as a tool by which a person’s adherence to society’s expectations of civil and acceptable behavior may be objectively considered. The goal of this effort is to encourage the restoration of civil dialogue and behavior so that the difficult issues facing our nation may be addressed.
The Civility Scorecard can be applied to the text of any debate, speech or article. However, the 2016 US presidential election provides the ultimate opportunity for such a tool. We not only have ample material for analysis, but also have a large number of candidates with which to compare their observance of established civil conduct.
Civility and humanity are the two sides of the same coin. The only time you can get a coin to stand on edge are when these two elements of mankind are in balance. People may have coexisted without being civil to each other, but without compassion, respect, patience and tolerance; distrust and hate soon take physical form. Today’s expectation of instant gratification and competition for attention has eroded much of the civility and humanity that we one held in the highest regard. Sensational headlines of the atrocities that are now becoming commonplace, further undermine the foundations of a homogeneous society and further divide nation from nation, tribe from tribe, man from man. They cling to political or religious dogma as if it were the armor for self-preservation and the sword of righteousness. There are no headlines in understanding another’s opinion. There is no press space in anything that can’t be made into a heated controversy.
Statesmen took no more into a debate or speech than their convictions. People were expected to evaluate these on facts or commitment. The individual may well have been impassioned, but typically for ideology and not about the opposing individual. Opponents that took the campaign to a personal level were regarded as crude and crass. They were neither respected nor trusted. And yet, in today’s political and spiritual world, the lack of tolerance and respect are being touted as the norm and standard by which one interacts with another. This is demonstrated by shouting one another down, interrupting and name-calling. It is reminiscent of an earlier time in history when force and greater numbers ruled.
Isn’t it time for humanity to stand up and demand a return to civility? Isn’t it time for a reminder that the “Golden Rule” is still the best way for all peoples to get along.
The Civility Scorecard Project was conceived with the idea that by making the public, the people, aware of what our leaders are truly saying in consideration of others civility and their own humanity. The Civility Scorecard Project has developed a dynamic software tool to analyze paragraphs, sentences, terms or phrases for civil attributes, such as: tolerance, patience, empathy, respect, understanding and commitment. These are not taken as standalone words but in context of the topic or idea being addressed. Scores for each are calculated and then tabulated and averaged to provide a relative score for each complete address. Individual scores can be calculated and compared to other addresses or candidates on similar topics for evaluation and rating. The demonstration of the human virtues of patience, tolerance and respect are to be integral part a persons’ character. This can and should be encouraged by and for every human being. The Civility Scorecard tool provides such insight.
The Civility Center is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving civil dialogue and furthering behavior that is fundamental to a civil society. The Civility Center developed the Political Civility Scorecard with the aim that interested voters may be able to identify, encourage, and reward civil discourse among those who seek our votes. History shows that only through civil discourse are we fully able to address the difficult issues in our nations and the interconnected world in which we live today.
For more information, contact Info@CivilityCenter.org or Russ Charvonia at 805.258.1037.