“Male writers will always stumble over female characters if they approach them as women first and human beings second.” John Long in Writer’s Little Book of Wisdom
Today against my better judgment I engaged in a Facebook exchange with a supporter of the President’s proposed budget. I typically avoid doing this kind of thing; even face-to-face discussions can readily devolve into shouting matches. However, the comment that set me off had to do with charitable giving—something to the effect of “If you think Meals on Wheels is so important, donate money to your local distributor.” Fine and dandy. But charitable giving will not support the NIH, the CDC, the State Department, the Energy Department (which, by the way, is in charge of the safety of our nuclear arsenal). All of these are set to see significant cuts in their budgets. I just felt the need to respond.
So, how does the above paragraph apply to the quote from John Long? I approached the commenter as a supporter of the Republican President first, and as a human being second. She is, of course, entitled to her opinion wrong though she may be. And in this age of incivility in our discourse, we would all do well (me especially) to remember that the person with whom we are engaging is a human being first. If we lead by example, if we treat each of our fellow citizens as people with hopes, dreams, and fears, maybe, just maybe, we can achieve real communication.
I await the day that we truly live the American Dream.