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City Club of Boise Virtual Conversation: Striving for Civility in Fractured Times

Civility has been at the heart of the City Club of Boise’s mission for more than two and a half decades, and a specific topic of conversation since our 20th Anniversary in 2015. But what lies ahead for political and civic discourse in our state? Join us online for a panel discussion.

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City Club of Boise Virtual Conversation: Striving for Civility in Fractured Times

Time & Location

Aug 25, 2021, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM MDT

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About the Event

In December of 2016, Foreign Policy noted that “the U.S. presidential campaign set a new low for civility and reasoned discourse.” But newer lows would keep coming. By the end of 2020, an L.A. Times columnist was asking “Will the 2020 presidential campaign turn out to be the low point in modern political civility?”

Many Americans hope so.

But in Idaho in the ensuing months, the GOP lieutenant governor undermined her fellow Republican governor’s approach to the pandemic on a day he was out of the state and she had gubernatorial powers. Legislative leaders forced a young staffer who had reported that a lawmaker had raped her to testify in public, as some legislators outed her name to the public in an attempt to protect their fellow conservative.

And that was just in the Statehouse. Elsewhere, protestors have targeted the homes of elected officials and even a magistrate judge. The Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise was once again vandalized with swastikas. A nearby statue of Abraham Lincoln was covered in red paint with a sign comparing the modern prison system to slavery.

Still, a few individuals and organizations are circling the wagons of civility.

Boise State University is launching the Institute for Advancing American Values to promote freedom of speech and the free and civil exchange of ideas.

The Boise Metro Chamber, Smith/Malek and the Idaho Association of Cities joined together to hold a series of online discussions called In Search of Civility — an effort heightened by the very people who created it: former Democratic legislator Mat Erpelding from the Chamber and former Republican legislators Kelley Packer from the Association and Luke Malek from Smith/Malek.

Other former state and local officials from both major parties are speaking out in forums and other public gatherings — and many groups and organizations are quietly discussing ways to be more involved —  but so far there are few signs that the state’s discourse and approach are changing.

Civility has been at the heart of the City Club of Boise’s mission for more than two and a half decades, and a specific topic of conversation since our 20th Anniversary in 2015.

But what lies ahead for political and civic discourse in our state?

Opening remarks and welcome sent home from Africa from Idaho entrepreneur and philanthropist Greg Carr.

Panel:

  1. Kelley Packer, Executive Director of Idaho Association of Cities, Former state Representative, and host of Boise Metro Chamber’s In Search of Civility series.
  2. Bill Manny, Producer at Idaho Public Television, former City Club of Boise President, host of City Club of Boise’s 2016 Civility Project
  3. Monica Church, Boise Public Schools teacher, City of Boise Ethics Commission member, Frank Church Institute and Andrus Center board member
  4. Dr. Palina Louangketh, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, Idaho Museum of International Diaspora

Moderator: City Club of Boise Board Member Katherine Himes, Ph.D., James A. & Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research Director

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