Lead­ing by ex­am­ple

The present day re­sults of in­tol­er­ance are all too ev­i­dent to need cit­ing. Gen­uine re­spect for oth­ers is what is needed.

The Covington News - - Local news - Pa­trick Du­rusau Colum­nist

Obama’s in­vi­ta­tion of the Rev. Rick War­ren to speak at his inau­gu­ra­tion has ig­nited a fire storm on both sides of the po­lit­i­cal aisle. For the left wing, eight years of in­tol­er­ance at the hands of “in­cu­ri­ous Ge­orge” led to an ex­pec­ta­tion of pay­back. Tol­er­a­tion of right wing opin­ions is not part of their agenda.

The right wing, who War­ren is seen as rep­re­sent­ing, is also go­ing up in flames. Their com­plaint is that War­ren should be in­tol­er­ant of Obama and sim­ply refuse to par­tic­i­pate. Both po­si­tions are equally wrong and for largely the same rea­sons.

Grudg­ing or miserly tol­er­ance of oth­ers will not lead us to a bet­ter world. The present day re­sults of in­tol­er­ance are all too ev­i­dent to need cit­ing. Gen­uine re­spect for oth­ers is what is needed. Re­spect that en­ables con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple whose po­si­tions deeply dis­turb you. Re­spect that keeps you act­ing with re­spect to­wards oth­ers, even if they are dis­re­spect­ful of you.

That is ask­ing a lot but that makes it all the more im­por­tant that Pres­i­dent-elect Obama lead by ex­am­ple. We have too many leaders who pan­der to our lack of re­spect for oth­ers. Prochoice leaders lack any re­spect for right-to-lif­ers. Right-to-lif­ers are all too will­ing to re­turn the fa­vor. Thirty-five years af­ter Roe v. Wade, that lack of re­spect means that de­bate hasn’t moved for­ward even an inch.

We have tried in­tol­er­ance, in­tol­er­ance over abor­tion rights, ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity, im­mi­gra­tion, ed­u­ca­tion, med­i­cal care, pol­lu­tion and any num­ber of other is­sues. Ad­min­is­tra­tions, both Repub­li­can and Demo­crat, have been both petty and dis­hon­est in their rush to cater to our in­tol­er­ance. It is time for a leader who wants to lead by re­spect and to teach us to have re­spect for each other and, just as im­por­tantly, our­selves.

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