A South African human-rights lawyer advises the left on how to seek advancement in a democracy.
Slavery, Nazism, apartheid and more. … A struggle against them was necessarily existential. They either had to be eliminated entirely, or suffered completely. A contrary view could neither be accepted nor tolerated. Its proponents had to be ruthlessly destroyed. In the battles listed above, that was the correct approach. … The nature of the struggle has changed. The goal is improving the peace that we have, not winning the war we are waging. The goal is to be able to live in the same street, not claim that street as ours.
brokering an agreement in a human rights matter can be the seed needed for trust to grow. That only comes through talking, listening, and respect. It isn’t flashy or dramatic, but it can be enduring.
Seeking the advancement of human rights in a democracy is like seeking a better marriage with your spouse. You should always seek a better marriage.
Sometimes, that results in a fight. The purpose of the fight should never be to destroy your spouse. The purpose of the fight is to keep living with your spouse. To do that, choose your disputes carefully and over only the most vital of matters. Accept that your spouse is seeking certainty and security, just as you are. If you believe in individual dignity, accept that their thoughts and actions may not reconcile with yours and that trying to shame them will make the relationship intolerable. Most importantly, once the fight is over, seek reconciliation. After all, you have to live with one another.