by John Dankosky – If the name of the new UConn President rings a bell, then you might be a Where We Live listener. In late September, Susan Herbst, then Professor of Public Policy at Georgia Tech and Chief Academic Officer of the University System of Georgia was our guest for a show called, “Incivility in Politics.”
She’d written a book that we featured called, “Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in American Politics.”
The book is a historical exploration of our increasingly uncivil style of debate. She told us that much of the angry, screaming culture we’re stuck with can be traced to education.
“Because we don’t teach children how to debate, they don’t know how to do it,” she said. ”Learning how to make an argument takes time and patience,” and right now, she says children don’t have “tools for passionate debate.”
When we talked in September, I didn’t think we’d be chatting with the first female President of the state’s flagship university. I think she presents herself as someone willing to listen to everyone who makes a reasoned argument, and that could mean students, faculty and tax-paying residents might have a bigger voice in the shape of the new UConn.