I had Professor Robert George (Princeton) on my radio program recently to talk about the dialogue he has had for a number of years with Professor Cornel West. They certainly qualify as “the odd couple” given their differences in political perspectives and their different racial backgrounds. But they have forged a partnership based on mutual respect and a desire for civil dialogue.
Months ago, they published an op-ed that was a summary of their common commitments. They reminded us that “To unite the country, we need honesty and courage.” Here are four of their many aphorisms in that article:
“We need the honesty and courage to speak the truth — including painful truths that unsettle not only our foes but also our friends and, most especially, ourselves.”
“We need the honesty and courage to recognize the faults, flaws, and failings of even the greatest of our heroes — and to acknowledge our own faults, flaws, and failings.”
“We need the honesty and courage to express dissent — to say, “No, I will not go along” — when conscience tells us that our own ideological or political tribe has gone astray or gone too far or become fanatical and blind to integrity and the dignity of all.”
“We need the honesty and courage not to compromise our beliefs or go silent on them out of a desire to be accepted or out of fear of being ostracized, excluded, or canceled.”
America is a divided country, and we need to work to end this polarization. These wise statements provide a foundation to do just that.