Appreciating the conversations beyond the page

"When I say I enjoyed being able to sit with a reader of my columns, to calmly consider our disagreements and reflect upon the words we use to express them, I’m not kidding."

By

Opinion

March 26, 2021 - 10:47 AM

Last month, I had a visitor to my office here at Friends University in Wichita. I knew who he was–he’s written and called me before–but this was the first time we’d met in person. It was a pleasure to talk with him, even though he was there to let me know how wrong he thought I was.

He is, you see, a reader of these columns, and was a strong supporter of President Trump. I wasn’t, and in writing about Kansas politics had said so, multiple times. That was fine with him; as a well-read fellow, he was no more surprised to see a professor of political science advocate for policies that most Republicans like himself disagree with than anyone else would be to see an oil company president advocate for policies that most Democrats disagree with.

Moreover, as a life-long gay Christian in conservative Kansas, he was thoroughly familiar what it means to be a minority, and to hold an unpopular point of view. So he didn’t come by the office to correct or challenge or convert me. Rather, he just wanted me to see things from his perspective. The resulting conversation was a real delight. 

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