In a deeply divided political town, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, on Wednesday pleaded for civil discourse on campus and in Washington during her keynote address Wednesday at the University of Michigan’s 66th annual Congressional Breakfast, held at the Hyatt Regency in D.C.
Dingell lamented that conservative students felt threatened and attacked during a UM panel she attended the day after the presidential election last fall. She said it reminded her of her days as a student at Georgetown University in the early 1970s at the end of the Vietnam War when there were frequent protest marches and constant “stress and tribulation.”
“This isn’t a secret but many don’t know this about me. ... I was president of the College Republicans,” Dingell said.
“Wisdom, discussion and intellectual debate helped me find the truth, but some of the best friends I made and the learning moments I had were on that campus.”
Dingell urged students and alumni not to remain quiet when they witness injustice, such as the recent threats to Jewish Community Centers around the country or the harassment of American Muslims.
“We have a problem talking across divides, because we don’t slow down, listen, have conversations,” Dingell said.
“This is where Michigan plays a critical role. For 200 years, the University of Michigan has brought diverse members of our community together to have difficult discussions, to debate and to find solutions to the problems we face as a society.”
In January 2018, Rep. Dingell spoke in Washington about civility in Congress.