Brian Baird and Jim Gerlach at The Hill:

Unfortunately, in the past few years, the conduct of far too many members of the House and Senate and in legislative bodies across the land has devolved into angry exchanges and name-calling that serves no other purpose than to inflame passions and harden sentiments against fellow officials. We are concerned that too many of those serving in and seeking elected office are willing to degrade our centuries-old representative democracy by riding a wave of tribalism and division. Instead of engaging in dialogue to achieve practical policy solutions, these outbursts of acrimony only serve to further separate members from each other and inflame individuals and organizations among the broader public. Worse, the rhetoric is increasingly involving threats or encouragement of acts of violence.


In response to this dangerous and divisive trend, as two former members of Congress with a combined 24 years of service and coming from different regions and political parties, we have authored a “Civility, Not Violence Pledge” that has now been signed by a bipartisan group of over 100 former members of Congress. Together, we have all have pledged to withhold our support of any candidates – regardless of party – who advocate or threaten violence against their political adversaries. The pledge reads:


“Recognizing that a strong, vibrant, and unified republic is founded on our citizenry’s mutual respect for the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others, and


That our local, state, and federal elected officials have a special and solemn responsibility to recognize and promote such mutual respect in the conduct of their public duties, and


That their conduct should at all times be civil, respectful, and ethical in action and discourse,


The undersigned do hereby affirm and pledge that they will:


  • Responsibly conduct themselves in speech and action in a manner that fosters civility and respect among fellow officials and citizens,
  • Decry and oppose any conduct or activity that encourages, supports, or condones any act or threat of violence against any individuals, groups, elected officials, or government employees at any level of government, and
  • Decline support for any persons or organizations that encourage, support or condone such violence.”


See the pledge and the signers at