Bob Gibson has listed twenty rules for “the enjoyment of politics.” I’ve listed them below the fold but the whole article is a good read.
No. 1: Look for the good in people. There’s usually something you can find.
No. 2: Killing with kindness is much more effective than killing with invective.
No. 3: Agree with people when you can. Common ground often is easier to find than one might think.
No. 4: Tell people when they make a good point. One’s position often is made stronger when acknowledging the strength of another’s position.
No. 5: Politely remind someone of his own previous words when they buttress your current position and he is in conflict with his current position. Nothing disarms a speaker quite as effectively as a polite demonstration of his former wisdom after some people have hastily abandoned it.
No. 6: Use YouTube to creatively and amusingly demonstrate No. 5 as Fairfax County blogger Kenton Ngo did. The teen-ager shows House of Delegates floor remarks of the Northern Virginia delegates who sponsored the original “abusive driver” legislation explaining how it applies to certain misdemeanor driving offenses and how it does not apply to drivers from other states.
No. 7: Stick to the facts as you understand them when trying to make a point. Ask people to explain the facts and go to the source when you do not fully understand them.
No. 8: Watch and listen to people sincerely. Try to understand their motivations and backgrounds in the light in which they see and feel them.
No. 9: Leave your prejudices at the door, or at least be aware of how they limit and shape you.
No. 10: Give people the benefit of the doubt, at least until they act so egregiously that they must forfeit that right.
No. 11: Enjoy the humor of every situation without demeaning or injuring those responsible for it when they do not intentionally cause it.
No. 12: Take yourself less seriously. The sun and the earth do not revolve around you or anyone you know.
No. 13: Take any elected official less seriously, as too many people take them too seriously and this tends to rub off on them.
No. 14: Smile and enjoy the company of serious people.
No. 15: Decide whether you favor the Old Testament admonition, “An eye for an eye and an impeachment for an impeachment,” or the New Testament teaching to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
No. 16: Insert a positive thought into any negative conversation.
No. 17: Apologize sincerely for foot-in-mouth transgressions and for unintended slights.
No. 18: Read, listen and watch before speaking, remembering that God gave us all two ears, one mouth and one YouTube.
No. 19: Remember at all times that no Democrat, no Republican, no independent and no Libertarian has a corner on the truth.
No 20: Try to put things into perspective, be aware of the past and rest assured things could always get worse.