Intolerant of Your Intolerance
There are a great many causes worth fighting for right now, but most of them revolve around the idea of tolerance. Tolerance will ensure fair and equal treatment regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or religious or political affiliation.
Yet those who support this kind of tolerance are frequently intolerant of those who think differently. They will start yelling at and arguing with anyone who disagrees. There will be name-calling, using such words as close-minded, bigot, homophobe, racist, sexist, pig, troll, and plenty more creative ones.
Is this not the very behavior tolerance seeks to eliminate? Is this — condemning someone for holding a different opinion or lifestyle — not a display of intolerance? These arguments end with two sides shouting “I’m right and you’re wrong” at each other. No progress will be made that way. The results will only be frustration and anger, maybe even hatred.
Frustration, anger, hatred… these are not totems of tolerance. They are marks of intolerance.
When people get into such arguments, they foster not a world based on fairness and equality, but on intolerance of different beliefs. It’s the same world they’re trying to change.
A world that accepts people for who they are; what they look like; who, how, and what they love… we will not achieve that world through petty arguments about who is right and who is wrong, nor through forcing beliefs unto others. We will achieve it through accepting those who are different, whose opinions are unlike our own.
I’m aware there are many cases where this argument breaks down. There are times when we cannot tolerate someone’s behavior, or when someone’s world view is capable of becoming destructive. I also understand there are times when we must stand up for ourselves and our beliefs. But the incessant bickering will not create the world of acceptance so many of us dream of.
Take pride in yourself and your beliefs, and let others do the same. Is that not what tolerance is about?