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Thursday, May 06, 2004

The Person Beneath the Label.

Conservative activist and Melkite Deacon Paul Weyrich offers a useful reminder of the mostly-forgotten fact that the people on the opposite side of the barricades remain human beings. He does so via a touching remembrance of liberal opinion columnist Mary McGrory, who just died this week at age 85.

The one day I called Ms. McGrory. I told her that while we disagreed on nearly everything, I thought she was correct in her views on Northern Ireland. She advocated that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland be re-united, a view I have long held.

"Well, bless you sweetheart," she said. We had a fairly lengthy conversation on the subject. I had visited Northern Ireland in 1982 and gave her my observations. She said, "This is so unexpected. I didn't think anyone on your side of the aisle held such views." I admitted that mine was a minority view on the right. I told her of others such as Connie and Bill Marshner who were likeminded and passionate in their views on the subject.

Thereafter, whenever Ms. McGrory referred to yours truly, it was never again with pejorative terms. Moreover, she called me many times to get background information on people and events on the right and was never as sharp-edged in her writing when addressing those subjects. Not that she ever lost her liberalism. It simply proves that, as is with the rest of us, she had a human side. When she learned that I agreed with her on an issue about which she cared deeply, she found it difficult to be as sharp edged as she had been in the past.

INDEED, I TELL MY fellow conservatives that in dealing with the media to always remember that they are real people. Of course, most of them are liberals. But they are also husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and they have varied interests.


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