Dear Reader,

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.

The Sun’s contributors are only part of the equation. We ask a lot of our readers, too: your undivided attention, an open mind, a willingness to sit with discomfort and extend compassion to others. And to ensure you are not distracted from what you read, we keep the magazine ad-free.

The decision to forgo advertising puts The Sun in an unusual position. Most publications rely on ad revenue or a major foundation or academic institution to stay afloat. Without these, we depend entirely on subscriptions and donations. More than one consultant has pointed out that carrying ads could make The Sun more profitable, but instead we’ve decided to trust in the generosity of our readers. Your contributions sustained the magazine when we lost thousands of subscribers during the recession; enabled us to weather the bankruptcy of a major distributor who owed us thousands of dollars; helped us recover from a lightning strike that knocked out our computers; and allowed us to absorb regular postal-rate and health-insurance hikes. Our relationship with you is our greatest asset.

This year we face a new threat: the devaluing of the arts and a free press. With federal funding for artists under fire and the boundaries between propaganda and fact becoming blurred, this is a critical time to take a stand for independent publishing. Please consider becoming a Friend of The Sun by sending us a tax-deductible donation. Your gift will enable us to continue to present the ideas of provocative thinkers and writing that engages the heart as well as the intellect. It will allow us to compensate talented contributors for their work. You’ll also make it possible for us to give away the magazine to teachers for classroom use, as well as to prisoners and others who have fallen on hard times. We’ll be able to award scholarships to struggling writers who want to attend our retreats. And all the while, in each monthly issue, we’ll continue to explore enduring truths about the human condition.

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.

Krista Bremer
Associate Publisher

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