Allegheny College has cursed the darkness, with its researchers documenting in a series of polls the decline of civility in American politics and the risk that rising nastiness poses to self-government.
Tuesday, the college plans to light a candle.
Pundits David Brooks and Mark Shields are to receive the inaugural Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life in Washington, honoring them for the elevated tone of their regular debates on PBS's NewsHour.
"People talk so much in America about those who are not civil. . . . We want to offer the nation role models," said James H. Mullen Jr., president of Allegheny, the Meadville, Pa., school that is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the nation. "We want to be part of the solution."