As some of you (hopefully) already know, I've been trying to develop "The Sanity Party" for several months now. Support for this movement has been limited thus far to a few individuals who feel that the tone of our national discourse could be vastly improved, and that we can advance an agenda of liberal-leaning ideas that are based on compromise. If more on the right would get involved, those ideas might center out a bit more, which is our overall goal, as we push toward developing a truly moderate party that tries to make true progress, rather than simply charging the atmosphere with hate speech and other vitriol. The articles I've published thus far regarding the Sanity Party (#1, #2, #3) haven't been the most popular on this column, but they have shown me that there are people out there who agree with the premise that neither side is absolutely right, or absolutely wrong; true progress means some sacrifices will need to be made by people on both sides of the aisle in order for the nation as a whole to prosper.
In the last Sanity Party article I published, I tried to develop a tax code through conversation, developing a fresh code from the ground up. Since then, I've taken some of the ideas involved, and I've worked on developing an agenda based on those ideas, which will be published sometime in the future. This time around, we're going to create the foundation of the Sanity Party's agenda itself: Our Rules of Civility. Without rules of civility that encourage calm, sincere discourse, we can pretty much drop the "Sanity" title from the name of this group! So please, read through this list and offer whatever ideas you may have regarding changing these rules, or adding more rules to the list, both of which are equally welcome. There isn't a single group in modern American politics that couldn't benefit from rules like these, some more than others!
Rule #1 - No view is absolute; compromise is the keystone of an efficient and productive government
Rule #2 - No race, gender, or faith should ever be attacked as a whole, under any circumstances.
Rule #3 - Opinions should never be shouted indoors, and when the opposition speaks, they deserve the same respect we would expect of them, if not greater.
Rule #4 - Protest signs should not be offensive, deploy cheap insults, reference diabolical historical figures/ parties/ events, promote violence, or hold half-truths, lies, or otherwise innaccurate information.
Rule #5 - Hyperbolic statements should be avoided at all costs. Proof of their being warranted is expected prior to, or immediately following, such statements.
Rule #6 - The patriotism of an American should never be called into question without evidence beyond certainty that it is warranted.
Rule #7 - We will not endorse, and we will withdraw our endorsements of, candidates who show disrespect toward any public office. Candidates seeking our endorsement are expected to show respect for the office, if not respect for the individual holding that office, regardless of party affiliation or any other quality.