Agreeing to disagree

while ago, we had a column on people able to disagree in a civil manner about directions in Israel.

Jeff Jacoby has a good article here which explores the topic.  Jacoby relives some of the statements of William Rasberry, a Washington Post columnist who recently died.

“I found myself trying to write,” he said, “in such a way that people who didn’t agree with me might at least hear me.” As public discourse grew increasingly shrill, Raspberry worked to understand the views of those he disagreed with…

Fairness didn’t mean humorlessness. Some of Raspberry’s best — and funniest — columns were those recounting his arguments with an imaginary cabdriver, through whom he voiced plausible objections to his own positions.

… One of the lessons a life of opinion-writing had imparted to him, Raspberry observed in 2006, was that “it is entirely possible for you to disagree with me without being, on that account, either a scoundrel or a fool.”

…. But that’s a lesson Americans find it harder than ever to grasp. What Raspberry called “the open warfare that now passes as political debate” has grown ubiquitous. Every development must be given a politicized, partisan spin, preferably with an assumption of the other side’s bad faith. News cannot break without being instantly deployed as a weapon in the culture war”

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