I was slightly appalled when an old, respected friend asked me if tolerance had clouded my judgement. “Tolerance isn’t a curse word,” I tartly replied.
I realize, now, that I didn’t appropriately answer the question.
So, for those who believe tolerance clouds judgement, perhaps I should let you in on a special little secret.
I’m not tolerant.
I’m not tolerant of the black man or woman. I stand with them and tell them that they matter. Every black individual is no less worthy of education, a solid job, and fair treatment than I am. They are human, just like me. They are worthy of equality.
I am not tolerant of police officers. I am thankful for them: the black ones, the brown ones, the white ones. I respect their authority because the vast majority protect me from harm every single day. Every time they put their own life in danger, they help save mine. That’s worth something.
I’m not tolerant of Mexican Immigrants. I’m friends with them. I’m thankful for those that work hard to make a better living in our country. Many live in poverty, working in construction and doing odd jobs to survive. They’re worth more than their stereotypes and deserve respect.
I’m not tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals. I’m their friend and their family. I love them and respect their right to live their beliefs as I am allowed to live mine. They are worthy of peace and prosperity.
I’m not tolerant of liberalism or conservatism. I’m open to hearing and understanding principles that I might not immediately agree with. Understanding an outside perspective leads to open communication. Communication leads to growth. Growth leads to success. I desperately want the country I love to succeed. Success is worth my understanding.
I’m not tolerant of abortion. I’m empathetic with the women who find themselves in such a difficult position. How hard must that be? My heart is open to anyone who made that choice. She is worthy of my unbiased love.
I’m not tolerant of Islam. I’m caring of it’s followers. They are as human as I am, with family and experiences and faith of their own. I will stand next to any peaceful individual of any faith, because that’s how a movement starts. That’s where peace comes from. And that’s worth a brighter future.
I’m not tolerant of Christianity. I hold hands with them across church pews and understand that at the root of Jesus is love. And I stand behind love with every fiber of my being. That’s worth everything.
I’m NOT tolerant of unjust, generalized, zealous hate. I reject it. It has no place in my soul and I will not feed it, take place in it, or agree with it. Not today or tomorrow, not yesterday, not ever.
I warned you; I’m not tolerant.
Regardless of your personal convictions, your belief system, religious affiliation, non-religious affiliation, your race, culture, gender, sex, occupation, political affiliation, non-political affiliation, WHATEVER! You are worth peace. To me and millions of others, you are worth loving and accepting regardless of your differences. I’m sorry for the hate you encounter, you’re worth more than that.
Join me in my intolerance! Share with the hashtag #notolerance
Spread LOVE, guys. Give hate no footholds.