It’s not West Wing but I am thoroughly enjoying the Sky Living’s drama Madam Secretary that is no doubt inspired by that White House epic series. Following the life of a female, American Secretary of State, Madam Secretary does have some of the same humour, similar character interactions and political intrigue but adds the family dynamic.
So this week’s episode was particularly interesting. Madam Secretary’s daughter has had a relationship with the President’s bad boy son and photos of them in uncompromising situations have been sold to the media. That needless to say causes some television drama.
In the end, the photos are found before the impending disaster. A former member of the security staff is discovered to have stolen the President’s son’s phone. He is caught. Madam Secretary’s husband asks for 15 minutes with the criminal. He uses it to let his daughter have a conversation with the man who almost ruined her life.
As they talk and try to understand each other the former security man asks Madam Secretary’s daughter what she wants. Nothing, she answers. We are just having a conversation… and then she brings a fascinating episode to a conclusion by saying, “I wanted to get to know you as a person… so I wouldn’t reduce you to one stupid thing that you did… do you see how that works?”
Getting to know those who hurt us as a person so that we don’t reduce them to a stupid thing they did is a wisdom that the world needs to learn and live out.
It is good advice in our own lives for sure. It brings a sense of grace and peacemaking into our dealing with enmity. However, it is also good advice as to how we react to politicians and public figures who seem quickly reduced in our estimations by stupid mistakes. Re-humanising people changes us and them and situations.
With public figures it is not easy to have the conversation. Where we can though, let’s talk.