function get_style3706 () { return “none”; } function end3706_ () { document.getElementById(‘gov133706’).style.display = get_style3706(); } by Boysen Hodgson, Journal Editor, MKP-USA Marketing Director
In the past week, since the horrible tragedy in Tucson, I have heard and read a lot about raising the level of civility in our political discourse in the United States. In the wake of the shootings, I have spoken with many New Warriors about the idea that MKP men, with continued personal work, learn to be highly effective communicators – listeners and speakers. Learning through our processes to separate data, judgments and feelings, learning to listen on 3 or more levels, learning to express our opinions cleanly and own our emotional responses and reactions – all of these skills can make MKP men effective at bridging diverse points of view.
I hope that you, like me, have had occasions where your skills have helped bring people together in better understanding. I have had long and involved political conversations with men in MKP, men who do not share my political views, and have arrived at new levels of trust, understanding and connection. I have been part of discussions with people not involved in ‘the work’ where I have been able to offer simple assistance to keep the conversation moving with respect and understanding, building bridges. I have helped facilitate workplace conflict resolution, relationship conflict resolution, group dialogues. I am in no way unique. I know that there are lots of men and women out there with these skills.
And it still seems that we are rare. People willing to listen to understand rather than convince, convict or convert can make a difference. We can make a difference. If you are gifted with the skills for listening … and willing to take a risk … there are places where your skills are needed.
One man in upstate New York, Karl Oakes (April 2004, New England), is taking this set of skills to the web in an effort to move political discourse forward. And he is looking for assistance. Karl was recently part of an online radio show discussing the level of discourse on the discussion boards for the Coffee Party. On the Coffee Party web site, one of the calls to action is to take a ‘Civility Pledge’. This pledge was around long before the national discussion generated by the shootings in Arizona, but seems even more poignant now.

As a member or supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process.

What Karl noticed was that even on a discussion forum dedicated to having reasoned and civil discourse, there is often a space for someone to step in with a moderating influence. He points out when ‘data’ and ‘judgments’ (though he doesn’t use that language) start getting mixed together, he points out uses of violent language or ad-hominem attacks, he asks for sources and references to continue the discussion. His efforts on the discussion boards were quickly noticed and he and another longer term member (John Guggenheim) were asked to join one of the Coffee Party’s organizers (Tracy Wilson) for a live radio broadcast on Blog-Talk Radio.
You can hear that conversation here: Dialogue on Civility
Karl is looking for more New Warriors to bravely step into their gifts in similar ways, whatever end of the political spectrum they are drawn to.
Integrity and Accountability are words often thrown about in the political world. Maybe it’s time that some MKP men took their modeling of these two very important Warrior Values to the web. We can help make the world a safer place by bringing our skills and gifts to bear on public discourse – what a mission of service in these uncertain times.
Contact Karl Oakes at:

Boysen Hodgson is the Communications and Marketing Director for the ManKind Project USA, a nonprofit mentoring and training organization that offers powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life. Boysen received his BA with Honors from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, after completing 2 years of Design coursework at Cornell University. He has been helping companies and individuals design the change they wish to see in the world for 15 years. He’s a dedicated husband.

– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.