Maintaining Civility with Anger

Andrew Sullivan says that even the worst, most cynically and myopically calculating politicians deserve the credit for their (if only occasionally visible) positive traits.  To his reasoning I would add that it is necessary for the maintenance of one’s sanity.  To constantly criticize and attack is to live in a head full of blackness and anger.  Making the effort of paying a compliment to someone you normally treat with skepticism or worse helps you stay grounded in the world’s complexity and just feels good:

when there are individuals in politics you have learned to distrust or oppose, it is always helpful from time to time to add a genuine compliment, not for the sake of it, or for credentializing, but because there are very few people who have no redeeming features and noting them is only fair.

Sullivan goes on to show that he is an eminently reasonable man.

How about my long treatment of Sarah Palin? Here, there is no conceivable way in which, in my judgment, her presence on the national stage can improve our discourse, help solve our problems or improve public life. But that does not forbid one from noting the great example she has shown in rearing a child with Down Syndrome, whatever his provenance, or noting her effectiveness as a demagogue, or from admiring her father’s genuineness or her skill in exploiting new media. I’ve consistently tried to do this without undercutting my still-raw amazement that an advanced democratic society could even contemplate putting such an unstable and irresponisible person in a position of any real power.

One reason I read his blog every day is that I occasionally get some sense slapped into me.

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