This would be comical if it weren’t just sad:  A national nonprofit group has launched a campaign to reduce the mudslinging and name-calling among politicians by having them sign a pledge to act in a civil manner.

The pledge designed by the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) is aimed at state legislators but apparently the folks who organized the upcoming presidential debates are interested in using a similar pledge as a guideline for the participating candidates.

According to the website, which specializes in issues facing state and local governments, the pledge was a topic at a summit in Chicago held last week by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NICD executive director Carolyn Lukensmeyer called on state lawmakers to sign the set of civility standards to help raise the bar for political conduct.

Route Fifty also reports that the NICD was contacted earlier this year by the Commission on Presidential Debates to come up with a similar set of standards for candidates, moderators and audiences at the debates scheduled for the fall. Those guidelines may be released after Labor Day.

The standards call on politicos to act respectful toward others; take responsibility for their behavior and speech; speak truthfully; and focus on policy, as opposed to impugning the character of opponents.

At a time when schoolyard bully tactics have become the norm in a campaign world where facts no longer matter much, the civility pledge approach seems laughable.

The belief that conniving politicians who sign the pledge would not effortlessly break the agreement is hopelessly naive. After all, this is 2016, the year of Donald Trump.

Political consultants shudder at the thought that the lesson learned from the brutal presidential campaign among some wannabe politicians is “Be like Trump.”

So, far the inclination among elected officials has been to ignore the pledge.

A state lawmaker in Ohio who strongly supports the pledge has acknowledged that getting lawmakers in the Buckeye State onboard with civility initiatives supported by NICD has been “a slow process.” A training session there last fall attracted just 15 legislators, according to Route Fifty. The Ohio House has 99 members and the Senate 33. Around 75 people attended a follow up event earlier this summer that was also open to members of the public.

But that was a gathering mostly of people, not politicians. Reformers and activists like the idea of upgrading political discourse. The practitioners – not so much. As of Friday, at least 488 people from 43 states had signed the standards for state legislators. Among those, just 39 identified themselves as public officials.