Missouri, Kansas governors release PSA encouraging citizens to ‘disagree better’

Campaign from National Governors Association aims to cool political discourse
New "Disagree Better" Initiative
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:09 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:45 PM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - Republican Missouri Governor Mike Parson and Democratic Kansas Governor Laura Kelly literally met in the middle Tuesday, November 14.

The pair released a public service announcement-style video recorded at the popular Kansas City Barbecue restaurant Q39.

While they traded light-hearted jabs about which side of the state line produces superior BBQ, the larger message was one of unity.

“As the 2024 election cycle heats up, we want to show the people of Missouri and Kansas that even when we disagree, we can disagree better,” Parson said in a press release.

The Disagree Better Initiative was launched in July by the National Governors Association and is meant to encourage Americans to handle political or personal disagreements in a more healthy way that preserves relationships and fosters mutual respect.

“The effort aims to change the political behavior of both voters and elected officials, showing that the right kind of conflict often leads to better policy, can be more successful politically than negative campaigning, and is the pathway to restoring trust in our political institutions,” the initiative’s description said.

The initiative’s website compiled academic studies and resources aimed at healing what it describes as “toxic polarization” in American politics.

Will It Work?

The initiative comes at a particularly polarized time in U.S. politics, including the race for the nation’s highest office.

President Joe Biden is suffering a 56% disapproval and a 39% approval rating from survey respondents, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the apparent front-runner for the 2024 presidential nomination is former president Donald Trump, who has built his political brand on divisive rhetoric.

“We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxist fascists and the radical left thugs that live like Vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections,” Trump said Sunday at a rally in New Hampshire.

Trump has repeatedly made false claims in the years since the 2020 presidential election that widespread fraud unfairly deprived him a second term in office. Such claims have been overwhelmingly debunked by courts, state election officials and members of Trump’s own inner circle.

The former president is embroiled in four separate criminal cases, with a combined 91 felony counts in Washington, New York, Florida and Georgia.

Trump is also facing a judgement in a civil fraud trial in which a judge ruled that ruling the former president routinely deceived banks, insurers and others by exaggerating the value of assets on paperwork used in making deals and securing loans. Trump has also been found civilly liable for sexual abuse and defamation by a jury in a case brought by author E. Jean Carrol.

Trump’s supporters and his political allies have issued a blanket dismissal of all the criminal and civil cases as being “politically motivated,” and therefore illegitimate.