A neighbor in Tampa taught me how to eat southern grits. First, he put cooked grits on his plate, dropped a large glob of butter in the center of the hot grits to melt, and added salt. Finally, place a soft poached egg on the grits; stir the egg into the grits with a fork, and eat. That is my story about how to make grits the tasty southern way.
That is not my only story. A friend who did not know our family very well could use a narrow brush to paint a picture of us as preferring southern cooking. But a better informed friend who painted with a broad brush could report that our integrated neighborhood enriched the Lehman familiy’s choice of cuisine. We totally enjoyed such savory foods as Italian spaghetti, Hispanic chicken and yellow rice, and Cuban coffee.
Raymond Martin described my “word on politics” with this terse and true comment: “Good generalization which is all one can do with a subject with such breadth.” I responded to Raymond, “True, and my biases are written all over the blog.” Since then I have wondered if a generalization painted with a broad brush and biases can be true. A dictionary gave this insight: To generalize is to make an inference from particular facts, statistics, or the like.
So the real question is this: Are the particulars offered in support of my generalizations true? Miriam Showalter in her comment lauds one particular. She says: “I like the words, “’It is unfair to rural people to think that they can never change.’ ” She adds, “Indeed, it is at the heart of conflict resolution to believe that I can change and that my fellow humans can change. We can learn from each other. And that is why conflict, as Carolyn Shrock-Shenk has said, is holy ground.”
Now I have one more word to Democrats. It is true that many gerrymandered congressional districts are safe for Republicans But, I contend that they are safe only if Democrats do not contest them. As I write, President Obama is engaged in a speaking tour. Perhaps it is better to call it a “teaching” tour aimed at changing the minds of constituents of congress.
The Democratic party should nominate local candidates who are able to teach and able to persuade Republicans in “safe” districts to at least elect members of congress who are willing to work through to a compromise in order to govern. Only if their is compromise will conflict be a true “holy ground.”