It is a difficult challenge that confronts all of us. In a time of intemperance, anger and hyperbole how can we remain civil?
How do you disapprove, disagree and dislike attitudes and beliefs of friends and associates but not disrespect them?
The old adage about avoiding religion, politics and sex never took with me. We have brains and spirit, passion and thoughts and we'd never fully engage our humanity if we did not exercise, fully exercise, our intellect and freely explore thought and especially those boundaries between us.
The challenge, it seems, is to probe those lines of demarcation, so as to understand and learn, but do so in a way that does not threaten. And perhaps that is a flash point, threatening. It is difficult to watch and listen to an attitude or policy that seems anathema to those ideas and values one holds most dear. But, how to respond? I suspect this will be a growing challenge.
My father Karl was also my best friend. I was particularly blessed that way.
A WWII combat veteran, political activist, competitive athlete, church officer, humanitarian, believer in human dignity and full human rights, he reared my brothers and me with the toughness of the drill instructor he had been but also with love and a liberal dosage of wisdom. A quote I grew up with was "I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it."
Nothing was off limits in our dinner table conversations and they were lively. My parents often had guests in the home who held different views and politics. There were disagreements, but they were civil and often my dad would inject that quote.
By the way dad would frequently say "... as attributed to Voltaire..." I asked him once why he said that. He said it was what Voltaire thought but there was a question about whether he said it in those words specifically. On later research it appears it was a summary of Voltaire's thinking and written as such by historian Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her book The Friends of Voltaire. She also wrote The Life of Voltaire. The wisdom and capacity of the philosophy is none-the-less a fundamental principal of a civil society.
In the last analysis it's all a matter of where we stand as to how we see things.
The magic green carpet of California's Central Coast extends into wine country as well.
See you down the trail.