Friends and Enemies

http://operachic.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451c83e69e2011168560ba2970c-400wiI love this article about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's affection for her SCOTUS polar opposite, the late Antonin Scalia. 

The two judicial powerhouses clearly do not see eye to eye on the issues.  And, while they are professionals, they are human beings, which mean "the issues" are not just some abstract thing to argue about as an intellectual exercise but literally the nation's primary human concerns, their decisions on which will affect the lives of millions for generations to come.  So when they see differently on a case, it matters, to their heads and their hearts and the future of the America they are seeking to shape.

And yet, despite their fundamental differences and specific clashes, they had a great relationship.  Justice Ginsburg eloquently expresses what she gained from Justice Scalia's thinkings and writings.  They cultivated social interests outside of work.  They genuinely seemed to like each other's company. 

It reminds me of a lawyer colleague of mine who I respect.  I asked him how he was able to cultivate such a large and diverse professional network.  He told me he put in the work, especially with those he would not normally have socialized with.  He told me that, fairly early on in his career, he approached his opponent in the courtroom after hours and said, "hey, you and I will be beating each other's brains out during the day tomorrow; what say we grab a beer afterwards?"  Thus, they struck up a conversation about families and aspirations and hobbies and sports, and thus began a long-standing friendship. 

There is room to make issues personal; in many cases, to not do so is to not give them their just attention.  We can feel strongly about what we believe, even to devote our lives to upholding it and broadcasting it.  But we need not consider those on the other side so evil and so ignorant that we can't treat them as human beings.  We might find they sharpen us.  We might even find we like their company and cherish them as dear friends.
Post a Comment