How can we reduce the friction in our politics? In his book “Divided We Fall,” David French recommends embracing three ideals: justice, mercy, and humility.
The conservative intellectual speaks from experience. After he and his wife adopted a girl from Ethiopia in 2010, they noticed how others in their Tennessee community occasionally treated their African American daughter differently from their two biological children. (Read our story today about other transracial adoption experiences.) Moreover, when Mr. French publicly refused to support Donald Trump during the 2016 election, alt-right agitators sent his family racist images – including one of their daughter inside a gas chamber. He went from someone who touted the tremendous progress that America has made on race relations to someone who believes we still have some ways to go.
“Between slavery and Jim Crow – 345 years of legally enforced racial discrimination defended by violence – it’s going to take a long time to unwind the effects of that,” says Mr. French in a phone interview.
But, he adds, it’s easy to claim to know exactly how to do that and then arrogantly spurn those who disagree with your approach.
“The quest for justice, untempered by civility and untempered by mercy, can tear us apart,” says the writer. “Walking into a public policy debate with humility and knowing that you don’t have all the answers is going to foster a degree of mercy and kindness. And that doesn’t mean that you back away from the quest for justice. ... It just means you’re approaching it from the proper mindset.”