Jim Cunningham: Bring back civility in debates | TheUnion.com

Jim Cunningham: Bring back civility in debates

I recently watched a video debate at The Open Book between William F. Buckley and James Baldwin that took place at Cambridge in around 1965.

Although it is not my favorite manner of discourse, I was struck with the intellectual honesty and nuance brought to the debate by both men. Even though they didn’t appear to like each other or agree on much, there were no personal attacks, no public shaming, no ‘alternative facts,’ and no political correctness. The subject was not dumbed down by rehearsed talking points or exaggerated, sensational claims.

I learned something by listening to both men. What would it take to be able to open up our public and private conversations in a way that we could express ourselves and listen to each other in a civil way?

Jim Cunningham

Nevada City

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Kenly Weills: Outrage to paint over street art


On May 29, I watched Nevada City’s amazing caretaker Miriam Morris starting to paint a river on Commercial Street’s pavement. Well-planted containers added to the beautification finally coming to a street that had been dug…

See more