January 23, 2019 | Washington, D.C.
Dear Friends of NICD,
It’s a genuine honor to succeed Carolyn as NICD’s new executive director. I’ve long been an admirer of Carolyn and NICD’s crucial work to revive civility and respect.
Our work is more critical than ever. As I write this, the government shutdown has extended to 33 days, making the wrong kind of history. Working in the town named for George Washington over the last several weeks calls to mind with eerie resonance his Farewell Address. Washington’s final public act was to advise us that “the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.” As though he could see the 2019 government shutdown from his vantage point in 1796, Washington warned us that the “spirt of party” is the “worst enemy” of republics and that it “serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration.”
Leading NICD is such an honor because we are so well positioned to help enhance our capacity as a nation to engage our differences with civility and respect so that our country can achieve its full potential. Together, our board, staff, programs, and organizational partners are a leading influence to revive the civility that we need.
Of course, our most essential role, is to roll up our sleeves to partner with each of you in this vital work. I deeply believe that the American people will be our saving grace. We’re not nearly as divided on the issues as our elected officials and we share a hunger for an America in which everybody is treated with respect.
It’s in that spirit that NICD has launched a new partnership with the good people of this country called CommonSense American. I piloted this program in my home state of Idaho. Our 1,700 members—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—each spent one hour a year reviewing a brief to which they got randomly assigned and then weighing in. The result was a five-year track record of major legislative achievements, practical measures passed with broad, cross-partisan support. Now, NICD is taking it national. We invite all Americans to go to www.CommonSenseAmerican.org so that we can join together to bring commonsense to Washington.
I know of no more worthy cause.
National Institute for Civil Discourse