I Respectfully Disagree

Posted: September 6, 2008 in Peace

I attend a politically conservative law school. Whole bunches of my friends are politically conservative. I’m just not politically conservative.

My law school hosted a conversation with Clarence Thomas yesterday afternoon, and I fought the crowd to attend. Our dean, Ken Starr, moderated the event. It was very cool to see a sitting Supreme Court justice, but it felt sort of funny to be so much less starstruck than everyone else in the room due to our fundamental differences of opinion. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I wanted to take the opportunity to go listen and see what all was said.

To be honest, I suspected some good liberal-bashing to take place. I’ve attended events like that. But that wasn’t the case yesterday, and I was glad.

Clarence Thomas, as most of you know, has been a somewhat controversial figure. The only hints of liberal-bashing weren’t really bashing, but more hurt feelings from Justice Thomas himself. You could tell that the controversies his nomination unleashed hurt him deeply.

What I appreciated yesterday had nothing to do with his constitutional viewpoint. Instead, I was impressed with his magnanimous approach to people in general. When asked what it was like among the Court in their 5-4 decisions, and if the sharp language sometimes written in judicial dissents led to hard feelings among his colleagues, he responded that everyone should remember that what they issue are “opinions.” That any disagreements should be couched as “I respectfully disagree,” because after all, we should respect one another’s opinions.

That would be so nice if we all adopted such a standard. So nice.

Do you want to know why I most often keep my political opinions to myself? Me, too. I think, however, it’s because I dread the sort of response Justice Thomas has faced from the Left. I know very well the disrespect travels both ways.

  1. lesjr says:

    You and I have disagreed pretty strongly-but at the end of the day, we both belong to the Lord.

    And I do respect you tremendously Al.

    Love you, too!

  2. mkjergaard says:

    How cool! I would love to meet Justice Thomas (Rush says he is a hoot).

  3. amyhitt says:


    I love you.

    I’ve been having the same thoughts myself after a political confrontation on my facebook wall with a friend of mine.

    I wanted to get angry and fight for the right for my opinion to count, but then I realized in doing so, I was basically telling my friend he didn’t have a right to his opinion.

    So, I am trying hard to be “respectful” all the way around.


  4. alsturgeon says:

    Not so easy, huh?

    I love you, too.

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