On finding our commonalities.
Question: How do you contribute?
Stephen Carter: My proudest achievements are my children. I mean that very sincerely. I think that for a parent the most important thing is preparing the next generation, or helping to prepare the next generation. I’ll be very honest with you. I think that a lot of the public work that I’ve done in my non-fiction writing, it’s been a failure. That is I had an . . . I had a goal in a lot of my writing to try to nudge conversation a little bit closer to a norm in which we actually saw across our differences a common, beloved humanity in those with whom we have strong disagreements. That’s my goal in different ways, whether I’ve been writing about religion and politics, or civility in public life, or a lot of the other books I’ve written – that’s been my general goal. And all I’ve seen, to my despair, is that getting worse instead of better; that day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, year-by-year, it’s simply getting worse. And so in that sense, I don’t at the moment feel terribly optimistic about our politics. I hope for the best. I pray for the best. I still sometimes work for the best; but I feel that the mission I feel I was on at one point is a mission that did not succeed, and I think really didn’t make much of a difference.
Recorded on: 7/25/07