In praise of tolerance
An ominous and sinister wave is rolling across our communities, engulfing our lives, drowning our morality. It began as ripple and threatens us with a tsunami. Its name is intolerance.
Anti-Semitic graffiti discovered in Hamilton this week. Vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in Missouri last weekend. An attack on a Quebec City mosque that left six people dead last month.
The news is rife with incidents of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and the apparent inability or unwillingness of humanity to understand, accept and accommodate our differences, the very thing that has made us the most “successful” species on the planet. The daily litany of Internet trolling, school bullying, workplace harassment, political doublespeak, hate speech, abuse, antagonism, bigotry, prejudice and evil here in Canada and around the world, is enough to make us all weep.
Unfortunately, too many of us tolerate it, even celebrate it. This plague is not unique to one group; it infects every community, in every walk of life, across every sector of the political spectrum.
Don’t be fooled by those think they are above it all and simply accuse others; we are all complicit because we tolerate intolerance.
Many are targeted: Asians, blacks, First Nations, people with disabilities, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, Jews, Christians, women ...
Ironically, they themselves are guilty of the same trespasses that are visited upon them. Such prejudices are more evident in multicultural societies, but they stretch across the planet, as they have for millennia.
Despite many centuries of misery, death and destruction due to this very scourge, we still see our differences are obstacles rather than opportunities.
Politicians should be leading the charge to defuse this simmering time bomb, but too many are instead helping to supercharge the evil machine for political gain. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Only a generation ago, their predecessors regularly found common ground for the benefit of all amid an environment of healthy partisanship. Election losers were celebrated as “the loyal opposition” with useful ideas rather than criticized for being “stubborn obstructionists” restricted by ideology.
Political activists have no apparent interest in considering alternatives or compromises. Opponents feel they shouldn’t be allowed to speak at all. We don’t try hard enough to understand or explore alternate views, personal experiences or underlying causes.
And politicians, again, insult us all with simplesounding solutions to complex problems.
It is time for compassion, empathy, consideration and kindness to finally eradicate antagonism, hostility, opposition and antipathy.