Can’t We All Get Along?

There may be some who think my quoting Rodney King’s simple yet profound request may seem passe and derivative, but some sayings stand alone, with no need of improvement. King spoke these words over twenty-years ago, and of course he wasn’t the first one to say them, and considering he spoke this entreaty in the aftermath of the L.A. riots, a direct response to a horrible miscarriage of justice it was certainly relevant. It was as relevant then as it is now. You may think I’m naive in believing that Americans can learn to respect each other’s differences, that we can disagree with someone without insulting them or questioning their patriotism, but think that not only can we learn to respect each other, but we had better learn soon, if hope to see our republic endure. As I mentioned in my profile post, it’s my fondest wish that the art of civil conversation can make a comeback. I’ve been instructed and inspired by so many wise men and women to keep an open mind and to speak with a sense of decorum and restraint when engaged in an argument. Of course, anyone who wants to defend his point of view while still respecting the person with whom he disagrees would do well to follow the examples of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. However, I’d like to offer two more examples of wise men from whom we can learn much about civility, men less celestial than the aforementioned trinity of tolerance but both brilliant, never the less: the late Edward Newman and Stephen J. Carter.


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