Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tolerance and Acceptance

I have fears for this country. People spent 8 years ranting about the hardline right running the country into the ground, ruining civil liberties, destroying political freedom, etc., ad infinitum. Then, a few hard-left nutjobs promptly recreate the tyranny and intolerance from their side of the park.

If liberals want to be taken seriously, then Liberals and Libertarians need to denounce the radical morons who make everyone look bad. Sure, you've got the right to say it - but not the right to overreact and get violent and get nasty when someone else says it.

"I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to the Death your right to say it." attr. to Voltaire, but actually written for him by Hall.

The college girl punched and screamed at because she wore a McCain button - is this how civil discourse works in colleges these days? The 8th grader with conservative father and liberal mother who decided to test her classmates and teachers. The kid who wore a McCain t-shirt to an after-election street party and was arrested for it? The grandmother whose cross was taken from her and stomped upon by a group of Prop 8 opponents? The NYCity people willing to let themselves be filmed swearing and cursing someone quietly standing - simply because his shirt says Palin on it? Students who can't help but criticize another's choice, saying, "Palin is a religious freak and a danger to society." without knowing anything about her, other than she's on the Republican ticket? The Racist Right has it's mouth open with brain shut moments, too. Cool it, people. You're not clever and you're not making much sense, but you are making videos that compare Obama to Hitler and Jim Jones. Rein in your psychoses and have a civil disagreement. The Black Panthers "standing guard" (one of whom is holding a nightstick) at the polling place giving certain people a bad time -- Gee, didn't someone think that might be misconstrued by a camera with an axe to grind?

To be taken seriously, to be American, we must all denounce these actions and the millions of other occurrences great and small, anti-republican and anti-democratic alike. We people who claim to be tolerant of diversity? How about some true tolerance? Be tolerant except of intolerance.

I work in education - surrounded by people who are knee-jerk one way or the other. I have one message. Grow Up.
Be the token liberal in a group of redneck friends.
Be the Red-State diehards on a BlueState campus.
But talk to each other. You're friends, or you ought to be.

Why can't we see that the country split nearly 50/50 on this election - if you isolate and demonize those with whom you disagree, you will never achieve consensus nor will you ever achieve peace. If we can't rein in the extremists, we will trade one set of pedagogical fools for another.

Just sayin'.

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