San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and the University of San Diego announced Friday they are forming the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement to address the growing invective in political discourse.
“The terms fascist, Communist, socialist, traitor and the like are now routinely bandied about by commentators, candidates, and office holders,” said Mesa College Professor Dr. Carl Luna, who will be director of the new institute.
“Barack Obama has been routinely called a Kenyan-born socialist. Mitt Romney was just recently ridiculed on cable TV for having an adopted African-American grandson. Boundaries of basic decency are flagrantly being violated.”
Luna said Institute for Civil Civic Engagement projects will include organizing community conferences and working with other groups in rating political advertisements for civility, along with sponsoring an annual San Diego Civility Awards to honor individuals and groups serving as models of civility.
The institute also will work with local school districts, colleges and universities in developing programs that promote campus cultures of civility and civic engagement.
The announcement of the new partnership was made by Dr. Constance M. Carroll, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District.
Luna said there is significant work to be done to improvethe level of local political discourse.
“In the recent local mayoral race, San Diegans were given, based on the ads being run, the choice of voting for a capitalist tool of business interests or a dishonest lackey of organized labor,” Luna said. “And people wonder why the turnout is so low?”
“Our goal is to let people know that politics can be better than this, that public debate can raise above slurs and name-calling and that we, the people can, as Lincoln said, allow `the better angles of our nature’ to shine through.”
— From a San Diego Community College District press release
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