They argued about the weather, sports, sex, war, race, politics, and religion; neither of them knew much about the subjects they debated, but it seemed that the less they knew the better they could argue.

Richard Wright, “The Man Who Went to Chicago”

All Americans lecture. . . . I suppose it is something in their climate.

Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

I have spent many years of my life in opposition, and I rather like the role.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Democracy calls us to have uncomfortable conversations. It asks us to listen to each other even when we would rather be listening to ourselves — or to people enough like us that we might as well be listening to ourselves. It is easier and more comfortable for us to live in perpetual high dudgeon inside our echo chambers than it is to have a meaningful conversation with people who disagree with us.