We developed this tool to help politicians, the press, faith leaders (priests, pastors, rabbis, imams, etc.), and all Americans of good will to set a positive example by communicating constructively.
We’ve all noticed rising levels of hostility, dishonesty, and paralyzing polarization spreading in our country. That’s why we need more and more of us to say, “Enough! I won’t just complain about the problem; I’ll commit to trying to be part of the solution.”
We expressed these commitments in terms of values because we believe we will only learn to communicate deeply and honestly if we speak from the heart, not just the head, from level of values, not just opinions or arguments.
I am committed to the six values of Common Good Communication:
I will demonstrate integrity and lead by example in my communication, in public and in private. When I fall short, I’ll admit it, apologize, and reaffirm my commitment to lead by example.
I will show uncommon curiosity by asking honest questions, staying open to new information, seeking to understand others as I would want to be understood, and listening with empathy.
I won’t hold back, speak half truths, be intentionally vague, or attempt to deceive. I will self-report my feelings and my underlying values whenever possible.
I will strive to show genuine courtesy toward everyone, especially when we disagree. I will not mock, call names, or dehumanize any person or group. I will establish and uphold ground rules for respectful conversation whenever possible.
I won’t compare my side’s best with the other side’s worst. I will not assume the worst motives in my opponents. I will acknowledge the upsides and downsides of all positions. I will praise my counterparts when they deserve it, and challenge my allies when they deserve it. I will notice who isn’t at the table, and I will do my part to be sure they are included and heard.
I expect this work to be hard and I know we will make mistakes. I will stay in the room with difference, be resilient after failure, never giving up and always seeking the common good.