Saturday, December 6, 2008

Letters to a Young Woman: An Introduction

One of the regular features I'd like to include is a series of open letters written to women from conservative and/or conservative-religious backgrounds.

I think it's pretty important to be able to have respectful open-minded conversations with people who disagree with you and/or who come from a very different ideological standpoint. There are too many liberals who stay within their ideological bubbles and think of conservatives and people who are religious as 'the enemy.' In Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries, Naomi Wolf says, "like most pro-choice activists, I had lived a whole lifetime formulating my ideas about abortion rights without ever having coming in contact with a pro-lifer" (Wolf 2008: 183).

I have a lot of respect for Naomi Wolf and the work she's done, but it seems irresponsible to me to be an activist who never engages with the people she disagrees with. After all, those people could potentially be your allies, right? As she says, "I was sitting at a table with 'the enemy' — and yet the men and women I had been taught to disdain were decent, compassionate people. To my amazement, all of us... had more in common with one another than we did with most people outside that room — whatever their political backgrounds. Overwhelmingly, the people gathered were there because they cared more than most people did about the suffering of women and children" (Wolf 2008: 185). So if we can communicate with people "on the other side" we can keep social change from becoming a battle, and instead let it become a collaborative effort by people who seriously care about making the world a better place. (awww....)

So! Letters to a Young Woman will be a feature dedicated to communicating with people from a totally different ideological background. These letters will consist of the following (and more!):
- respectful introductions to progressive ideas regarding social justice and change
- questions, explorations, and speculations meant to promote dialogue between the left and the right
- non-condescending, non-insulting, constructive responses and rebuttals to ideas coming from the political right
- and more!

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