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Cindy McCain Calls For More Civility in Our Politics


Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain, recently wrote an op-ed for the “Washington Post” calling for more civility in politics. She refers to her husband’s remarkable ability for tact and mutual respect, writing,  “… John never sacrificed civility. He liked and respected most of his colleagues, however heated their debates could be. He was known for his bipartisan friendships.”

In recognition of the one-year anniversary of the Senator’s passing, McCain and her family are putting out a national call-to-action she’s branded #ActsofCivility. She wrote, “So today, I am asking all Americans to take a pledge of civility by committing to causes larger than ourselves and joining together across the aisle or whatever divides us to make the world a better place,”

How does she plan to put this campaign into practice? We reached out to McCain for this exclusive Q&A.

1. Tell us how Sen. McCain practiced civility throughout his career and why you and your family decided to call for our nation to practice Acts of Civility to mark the one-year anniversary of his passing?

My husband was not shy about sharing his opinion, and regardless of whether or not he agreed with someone, he always maintained the utmost respect for them. As a family, we have noticed that our national dialogue has become far too coarse and John believed, as I do, that we can achieve the most when we work together from a place of common ground. Our family feels this is an important message to convey to the American public and we are urging them to join us in acts of civility.

2. How will you be putting the #ActsofCivility campaign into practice moving forward?

I will be putting the #ActsofCivility campaign into practice by listening to other people, even if it is someone I don’t necessarily see eye to eye with. It starts with small steps, such as calling a family member that you sometimes disagree with or opening a dialogue with a competitor on how you can both improve.

3. As part of the campaign, you say: “Commit to something larger than yourself. Reach across the aisle. Break the barrier. Come together for civil engagement.” What can we do, as a nation and as individuals, now to make a difference as well as honor the late senator?

To start, we can acknowledge that no act is too small and no matter how deep our differences or how tough debates have been, there is common ground to be found and respect to be given. Even if it is agreeing to disagree, that can be done in a civil fashion. Not only can we make this commitment by way of our in-person interactions, but we can and should do the same with our social media activity and digital interactions.

As a nation, we can also call on our elected leaders and those running for office to engage with civility and applaud instances where that happens, paying attention to the outcome.

4. Is there anything else about the campaign that you would like readers to know?

I want readers to know that this campaign lives beyond the one-year anniversary of John’s passing. Through small acts and good intentions, while engaging with one another, I am confident a difference will be felt in our relationships, communities, and our nation.


Susan Pascal is editor of The Sunday Paper. She lives in Los Angeles with her two kids.