Rule # 1) Always have a clear conclusion and at least one logical premise that supports it.
We need to return to a discourse that puts value on logic and reason. We need to give reasons for why we think whatever it is we think. If we have to tell other people why we think what we think, we will have to find out. That would be a huge thing.
Rule #2) No insults and no name calling.
We should instantly disregard the argument of any person who refers to the people with whom they disagree as “radical liberals,” “socialists,” “elitists,” “right wing nuts,” “un-American,” “reds,’ etc. There isn’t any place for this nonsense. People who want to work with other people to solve problems don’t talk to each other like this, and we ought to be interested in being, hanging out with, listening to, following, and electing people who want to work together to solve problems. We certainly have enough problems to solve. Feel free to criticize ideas, if possible politely and constructively. Stop criticizing people. Let’s focus on the message rather than the messenger.
Rule #3) Stick to the facts.
This seems obvious, but more and more it seems to be OK to lapse into fiction in order to make your point. There are not and never were death panels. Anyone that said otherwise was lying. Birthers were lying. People who say that pre-natal testing leads to abortion are lying. People who say there is no hard science to support theories of global warming are lying. Disagreement is fine. It is necessary. It needs, however, to be based in the facts.