My husband Ismail and I were standing in our kitchen discussing politics when he interrupted me, raising his voice and pointing his finger. He is from Libya and, like most Libyans I know, grows passionate and animated in conversation. But ever since the 2016 presidential election I have been extra sensitive to how men treat me. Overcome by anger, I called him a sexist. “You may be used to a dictatorship,” I added for good measure, “but this marriage is a democracy.” Ismail’s expression hardened. “And you are a racist,” he shot back. Suddenly we became enemies, our hearts closed to one another. What followed was one of the worst arguments we’d had in seventeen years of marriage. That night I lay on the edge of our bed, feeling upset and alone.
What kept me awake was not just my anger but my dismay at how quickly I’d judged and dismissed him. This kind of reaction has become commonplace in the news and in conversations. But when we reduce someone to a label, we refuse to acknowledge that person’s complexity, and the distance between us widens. That’s why self-righteous anger and sweeping generalizations have no place in The Sun. Instead we expect our contributors to be honest about their failures, curious about their inner conflicts, and willing to consider other points of view. In this time of political turmoil The Sun reminds us that we the people are far more complicated, and have far more in common, than we sometimes imagine.
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As I lay awake the night of that argument, my anger subsiding, I wondered: How long will it take for me to learn that a little humility could spare me a lot of suffering? Ismail must have been thinking along the same lines, because just before I drifted off, I felt his reassuring hand on my back. Early the next morning I handed him his coffee the way he likes it: four spoonfuls of sugar and a splash of cream. I sat down close to him and let what we have in common fill the silence between us: regret, forgiveness, and a cautious hope for a better day ahead.
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