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Dealing with your local city council or school board should be like dealing with your mother-in-law

Watching our local city council on television can be painful.  My stomach hurts after watching what appears to be massive disrespect between the council members and the council members and members of the public in the audience.

The perception is that nobody's working together and that listening and civil response is a foreign concept.

How about where you live?  What about your city council?  Local school board? 

I found these steps to civil relationships on  They're aimed at in-law relationships.  But, they would apply to city councils and other political relationships where civility seems to be lacking and counterproductive.  The steps:

Adapted from Pier Forni, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct.

  • Smile. People respond better to those who are positive.
  • Be considerate. Ask yourself, "Is what I am about to say going to encourage and build up the other person, or tear him or her down?"
  • Practice restraint and don't yell or raise your voice.
  • Have the courage to admit it when you are wrong. Avoid ridicule and don't humiliate or demean the other person. You can express your anger without attacking the other person.
  • Accept kindness from others and let others be nice to you.