Politics as a forum for friendship

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this magazine, had great confidence in the ability of a higher humanity to draw us together. 

About a year ago I came across an astounding idea relative to politics. It was in a speech given by Václav Havel, a leading figure in the “Velvet Revolution” that propelled Czechoslovakia to independence from the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Havel, serving as the newly liberated country’s president, suggested that politics should be a forum for the practice of friendship.

Politics a forum for friendship? Is that even possible? 

In my own life, friendship and politics have gone hand in hand since the 1970s. I have a close circle of high school friends from different racial and cultural backgrounds, and one of our preferred activities over the decades since high school has been talking politics. We all know one another’s perspectives on the role of government, national policies, what the private sector should be doing, etc., and while our discussions have at times been heated and haranguing, they have also often been humorous. But in the end, we’re all better for our time together, for having informed one another and sharpened one another’s arguments. Sometimes we’ve even changed one another’s points of view. Would we ever let our political discussions negatively affect our friendships? Not on your life! Why not? Because we value our friendships more than we value our political perspectives.

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No social awkwardness in Love
May 31, 2021

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