When the shootings in Arizona happened in January–killing or injuring more than 20 people–there was an immediate cry from some quarters for more civility in American politics. Of course, even that was tinged with a certain non-civility as some on the left pointed toward the angry rhetoric of some on the right as being–if not the cause of this particular violence–at least somehow emblematic of the larger problem.
Today, the University of Arizona is doing something about it as it announces the creation of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, with honorary co-chairs Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse – a nonpartisan center for debate, research, education and policy about civility in public discourse – will open Monday in Tucson. It was created in the aftermath of the Jan. 8 shootings in the city where six people were killed and 13 injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
Former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) will serve as honorary co-chairmen. Board members will include former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright; Kenneth M. Duberstein, chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan; Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren; Trey Grayson, director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics; and former representative Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.).