Monday, November 08, 2004

Tolerance and Intolerance

Tolerance, it's something that I wish would spread through the world like antibiotics spread through your body, killing the infection, healing the sickness and pain. Because that's all that Intolerance really causes. Sickness and pain.

Intolerance is unacceptable when children bully other children, it's unacceptable when adults are rude and just plain mean because someone has different beliefs, and values, it's unacceptable in racism, its unacceptable in antisemitism, it's unacceptable in male supremacism, it's unacceptable in terrorism.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no reason in this world for rudeness, and meanness, ignorance, and all the problems that come from them. Intolerance can cause something as little as hurt feelings, or something as large as murder and genocide. I wish I could make children see that teasing and bulling is wrong, that making fun of those different from you is wrong. I wish I could teach adults the same thing. That it doesn't matter what color, race, religion you are. It doesn't matter what political and moral views you have. None of this matters. Who cares if someone looks or acts different. Who cares if someone believes in different things. When it comes down to it, it really doesn't matter. ALL people deserve respect, and ALL people deserve the right to be who they want to be and believe what they want to believe.

I love differences in people. I love to learn, and discuss, and hear different points of view. I love bringing different views and values to the table and having long and sometimes intense discussions about them. I truly feel that it's those discussions that help you to learn and grow as a person. It helps you to see the other side. And greater understanding breeds greater tolerance. What I don't like, is when people cross the line, and make THEIR statements the ONLY statements. I hate it when I am told I am wrong, I hate it when my beliefs and views are disrespected. There is a fine line bewtween "I disagree with you", and "you're absolutely wrong, and you need to believe what I believe, or else you're a !@#$% and your beliefs are !@#$%." It's not what you say, but how you say it. Maybe I just expect too much from people, but I really truly don't understand how people can be so rude and intolerant and hateful of those who are different. Is that the kind of world you want to bring you children up in? Are those the kind of values you want to teach them? I certainly don't want that for my children.

Maybe my father is right. Don't bring up politics or religion if you don't want to fight. But ya know what? This is me. I am Jewish. I am Caucasian. I am politically liberal. I am an American. I am for a woman's right to choose, though given the situation, I probably would not choose abortion for myself. I am a heterosexual who belives in a homosexual couple's right to be married. I am against the war in Iraq. I am a New Yorker. I am a Cheeseball. As a medical professional I believe in the power of stem cell research to eliminate disease. I am a Physical Therapist, and I hope that one day my profession won't be needed. I love smiles, hugs, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, new sneakers, family, swimming, to read, write, paint, discuss, learn, cook, pray, sleep, eat chocolate, watch movies, be with friends, and so much more. I hate sadness, gossip, fatigue, school loans, darkness, loss, commercialism, alarm bells, Cancer and other disease, to iron, vacuum, mop, argue, sit in traffic, fight, be cold and again, so much more. That's some of who I am. Who are you? And how can you live a more tolerant life? How can you teach your children to be more tolerant? How can we make this world a more tolerant and better place to live? And does it really matter if we disagree?

Rejoice in the difference, learn from others. Tolerance is the key.

No comments: