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Politics

Getting Along With People

Susan Estrich on

It's pretty basic stuff.

Getting along with people you agree with -- or, in this era of yes-persons, people who always agree with you -- is remarkably easy.

Getting along with anyone you might venture to disagree with in an online forum or comments section, not to mention a television scream-a-thon, is so utterly impossible and beyond reason that its impossibility proves nothing (except how to get ratings, sometimes).

What's in between is, of course, what matters, what keeps us functioning as a nation, living under the rule of law, respecting people's rights, waiting our turn even when someone else cuts in line.

Can we get along with the people at school who are pigheaded, the people at work who are arrogant and wrong, the people on the other side who drag things out or should know better or don't deliver what they're supposed to?

My first boss was difficult. In today's parlance, you'd say he engaged in sexual harassment. In those days, I just thought of it as his making me wait tables, cook and do dishes at the same time while he was downstairs with the other waitress. "Don't you know how to cook a steak?" he yelled on the intercom. Not well, my family would tell you. Anyway, as my father used to say when I complained, "There is a reason they call it work."

And at work, if you want to get anything done, whether it's changing a policy or moving ahead, you learn to get along. You listen to things you've heard and nod with respect because it's the right thing to do.

You do not stop speaking to the Senate majority leader.

What is going on in Washington? I thought this was kids' last week off before going back to school. Who knew that nursery school started early this year?

I am not a Mitch McConnell Democrat. I do not believe such a thing exists. When a Democrat takes Mitch McConnell's side in a dispute with the president, we are somewhere near the border of a constitutional crisis.

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