Bigotry, Intolerance and Tolerance

Whenever I get wrapped up in one of “my reality shows” Abby, my wife feels compelled to ask  ” you know this is not real , right?”  I suppose I do but, that doesn’t prevent me from getting all caught up in the emotion of it.  So it is with this in mind that I say to all my Facebook friends and family who are plastering social media with messages of hate and discontent over the recent presidential election…

You know this is not reality right?  Trump leveraged his realty show instincts to target what people wanted and built a political engine that motored him to a win.

He’s not what I am worried about thought right now…I’m worried about us…American’s tall, short, white, black yellow, gay, straight, Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, or whatever else defines us.

For some time now television and social media has been dominated by a series of raging national debates on social issues. Lately, anyone expressing an opinion or challenging another’s standing belief is labeled as a bigot “deplorable”, intolerant, hater, and or homophobe.

Not wanting to be negatively labeled many Americans now tend to keep their opinions internal or within a small circle of like-minded friends or family. This was hugely evident with the miscalculations of the political and social polling pendant predictions over the past year.

I believe this condition has lead our nation to a serious deadlock. Debate and discourse are debatecritical to coming together as a nation. It’s how we learn, grow and gain deeper understanding. Before we can get to a better place as a nation we need to examine how we engage one another on emotional topics.

So what exactly is bigotry? Bigotry is defined as an intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from you. In short ….you have an unwillingness to tolerate or accept the person who holds those beliefs. Example: If you don’t believe what I believe I reject you!

Intolerance on the other hand is and unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from yours.

If you are Tolerant ….You do not have to like the person with whom you disagree,
but you do have to respect and tolerate their rights to speak, believe or support what or whom they believe in.

If we spend a little time thinking about these definitions I think most of us will concur that it is OK to agree to disagree ….. and I also believe you are willing to support our constitution rights to have and hold our own opinions.

discourse2Tolerance has two requirements:
1st is that you respect the right of the person or individual in question to hold his/her beliefs and voice his/her opinions;

2nd, that you have a right to disagree with those beliefs and contest them both privately and publicly.

We are Americans…  we like our opinions…and we don’t mind telling others about them (even if they don’t want to hear them)…

The problem we need to tackle is getting off our high horses and allowing others to have some also…  and further more supporting their right to have a contrary opinion, belief or behavior. Like the saying goes:  If you like me ..I’ll like you..  if you respect my rights …I’ll respect your rights… That’s worth fighting for…  wouldn’t that be a nice reality?

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