I just listened to the podcast of the interview with Richard Muow and was struck by something entirely missing from his discussion. It is wonderful (and important) to discuss ways of disagreeing civilly with one another; however, what is at least as critical is to find ways of coming to decisions about how to move forward in the face of disagreement. If Richard Muow and I respectfully disagree on the issue of same-sex marriage (or whatever), whose beliefs get to play the largest role in framing and enforcing the state's involvement in that issue? So far, it has been Richard Muow's by virtue of cultural convention and tradition. To me, it was clear that Mr. Muow is used to speaking from a position of this kind of power (which was also evident in his story about the parking spot--I was struck by the fact that rather than give the parking spot to the woman who'd been waiting once he realized what had happened, he kept the spot, but went over and told her he didn't blame her for being angry. It seems this is also a version of his approach to the issue of marriage equality.) It is much more difficult (I think) to move beyond the talking and reflecting and being civil phase to the phase where you have to craft a decision, the outcome of which cannot resolve the disagreement. My own sense is that the current political and cultural climate around marriage and other issues remains one in which people do not know how to embrace a broad decision with which they fundamentally disagree. That would be an interesting issue to hear more about, perhaps as framed through marriage.
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