Yesterday I had lunch with a colleague from China. We didn’t talk about politics much, but we touched upon the possibility of Oprah running for president (which I feel is entirely up to her and I’d decide her ability to run the country during the primaries). My friend mused that he just wished we’d get a president who’d unify the country.
I’ve thought this over and I have to say I disagree. It’s not that I love the tenor of vitriolic discourse, but I don’t mind disparate view points. We want differences. If you’ve read and agree with John Stuart Mills’ essay “On Liberty” you even want bad ideas to be freely expressed. I actually love brisk, lively debate.
What I’d like to see is more civility. I don’t care about a society having huge differences or a culture war. I just think such disagreements should be conducted with civility. So I don’t think we’re missing unity. I think we need more respect, more listening and more rationality.