by David Safier
This is the kind of feeling you hope will last, or at least have some lasting effects. The people who stood and spoke at the Promoting a Civil Discussion press conference this afternoon were Republicans and Democrats, gathered together humbly, and actually seeming like they belonged together.
Brian Miller and Jeff Rogers, chairs of the Pima County Republican and Democratic Parties, shared the opening remarks and introductions. I'm not sure if it held in every case, but Miller introduced most of the Democratic speakers, Rogers the Republicans.
No one said anything that felt to me like it was intended to score points.Everyone was properly humble and restrained. Grijalva had what I thought was the phrase which summed up the tone of the speakers:
"My fight will be clean and fair. My disagreements will be clean and fair."
Behind the speakers was a Pledge of Civil Discourse which all of them, as well as others in the state, have signed. The pledge reads, "I commit to promote a civil discussion of the issues we face."
I want to believe what I heard and felt, as I want to believe what I heard and felt as Obama called on all of us to summon the better angels of our natures at the Memorial Wednesday evening. I try to suppress the cynic in me, but I have lived with him for too many years to ignore what he whispers in my ear. So let me say, I hope the tone changes, even a little, toward more civil discourse, but I don't want to see a unilateral disarmament from the Democrats (and here, I think, the weapons metaphor is appropriate). Both sides must fight hard, but fairly, or it won't work. One side cannot do it alone.