Monday, June 9, 2008

The Other Side of Intolerance

I am a tolerant person. Being from rural Kentucky, this is not a popular way to be. I am highly opinionated, yet I do something that many liberals and conservatives are incapable of: I allow others to believe whatever they wish. By allow, I simply mean that I do not mock, scorn, laugh at or otherwise demean those whose opinions differ from mine. It is enough to agree to disagree; it is unnecessary to insult or degrade while stating your opinion. However, I find that there are many people who are unable, for whatever reason, to allow others to hold opinions or viewpoints that differ from their own. I can hear a point of view that to me is disgusting, ridiculous, or egregiously offensive, and I shrug my shoulders and say, "If it makes you happy," and walk on. What kills me is meeting people who receive my respectful responses to their views, but upon hearing my views, actually laugh out loud, and let me know loud and clear that my views are ignorant, backwards, ill informed and in short, totally and irredeemably wrong. I have been told that, "One day you will open your eyes and see things my way," I.e., the right way. So here's the thing: An opinion is just the way a person thinks about something. A belief if simply what someone believes in, usually what they were taught from a very young age. One great thing about living in a free society is the freedom to think and feel whatever the hell you want to, and the right to voice that opinion without persecution. However, if an opinion is caustic or hateful, it should go without saying that just because you can say it, doesn't mean you should say it. There is responsibility that comes with freedom, and most people don't seem to understand the concepts of diplomacy and discretion. There is nothing wrong in having an opinion that is different, what is wrong is laughing at, mocking, or deriding another person for their views. If the tables were turned, and I as a Christian were treating a liberal with such disrespect and intolerance, people would say, "How typical," But to receive this kind of treatment from a liberal is shocking to me. It is blatantly hypocritical and so damned ass backwards that I cannot comprehend it. To learn that "open minded," "educated," people are just as, if not more intolerant than the Christian bigots they are always pointing fingers at, well, that in itself is the epitome of hypocrisy. I only wish more people could see it.

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