A Town Hall on Civility

By Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick
September 18, 2013 | Blog

Recently, I had the opportunity to address questions from sixth and seventh graders at Maple Point Middle School in Middletown, Bucks County, PA with my colleague Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5) as part of the school’s ‘Constitution Week’ celebration.

In an age of increased technology and connectedness, I was impressed (but not surprised) at the great questions that came our way. From questions about Syria to unemployment those students had a rare opportunity to hear from two congressmen, from different backgrounds and different parties, in a civil way.

You see, that’s the biggest thing I hope those kids can take away from that assembly: The image of two very different members of Congress sitting down together and saying, ‘Enough is enough. We need to understand each other and we need to work together to get things done.’

Even though Rep. Cleaver and I sit on different sides of the aisle, we were able to have a thoughtful discussion with the students about these issues that our country is currently facing.

For kids growing up who often see the uncivil side of politics, I believe that it is necessary to show them that it is possible to be polite and respectful even when you fundamentally disagree with someone.  It was a wonderful experience to be able to give students face to face exposure with their representatives and show a side of politics that isn’t always visible. I enjoyed showing Congressman Cleaver my home district and look forward to the opportunity to visit his district and engage in another discussion about civility and its importance.

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