Civil discourse essential to democracy, documentarian Ken Burns says

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PBS filmmaker Ken Burns will call for a nationwide discourse on civility at a National Press Club Speakers Series luncheon on Oct. 3. “This year as we think about the 150th anniversary of the start of our Civil War, we must remember that the lack of civility in our political language threatens the very basis of American society,” Burns said in a press release. “I believe civility is essential to our ability as a nation to confront together difficult issues even when we may disagree.” Burns wants to use his upcoming documentary, Prohibition, as a starting point for discussion, as he sees it as “one of America’s most notorious civic failures” that serves as “an object lesson in the challenge of legislating human behavior,” with relevance to today’s political discourse.

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