It seems like a quixotic quest in an era of supercharged partisan rancor and bitterly snarky posts in on-line comments sections, but some Democrats and Republicans in central Wisconsin want to bring civility to politics.
The Marshfield Civility Project held its first forum on Wednesday. It’s the brainchild of Marshfield alderman and former Wood County Democratic party chair Chris Jockheck.
“We need to get the undecideds educated on issues. We need to get them to feel comfortable, and knowing what and why they should be voting,” Jockheck said at the forum, which was held at the UW Marshfield-Wood County campus. “The more you know, the better your decisions are going to be, and it’s hard to do that when you get only one side.”
Jockheck teamed up with Dan Wald of the Wood County Republican party. “We need to cool our jets, if we’re going to actually get down to the heart of the matter on what some of these issues are,” Wald said. “We’ve seen it over the last number of years, whether it’s issues on the federal level (or the) state level, where we have family members that aren’t speaking to one another anymore, which is quite unfortunate.”
Eric Giordono from the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service told the crowd in Marshfield that we don’t have to do politics as usual if we don’t want to. “Really, what this is about is to consider the different ideas and options, and talk with one another, listen to one another, and see if . . . there is actually some common ground on how we might fix the American political system,” Girodono said. “Call it and experiment. I don’t know that we’ll solve anything tonight, but maybe we can decide whether or not this will give us the impetus to work together civilly when we have to deal with issues.”
A forum next month at the Marshfield public library will tackle advisory referendum questions facing voters in November, dealing with the minimum wage and whether the state should accept federal Medicaid dollars.
Thanks to Mike Warren, WDLB