Mark Sappenfield at The Christian Science Monitor:
[The] articles in our Respect Project argue [that] respect is an essential agent of progress and healing. Why?
A recent interview in Politico offers some insight. In 1991, political scientist James Davison Hunter wrote the book “Culture Wars,” lamenting how politics was being taken over by cultural issues on which compromise was impossible. Back then, it was abortion. Today, he told Politico, “part of our problem is that we have politicized everything.”
Much has been said about the threats to American democracy, but for Professor Hunter, this expansion of the culture wars is one of the deepest drivers. “Democracy, in my view, is an agreement that we will not kill each other over our differences, but instead we’ll talk through those differences,” he said. “And part of what’s troubling is that I’m beginning to see signs of the justification for violence on both sides.”
He said: “Well, I’m going to sound really old-fashioned here, but I think that this work takes a long time and it’s hard. I think you talk through the conflicts. Don’t ignore them; don’t pretend that they don’t exist. And whatever you do, don’t just simply impose your view on anyone else. You have to talk them through.”