These are definitely strange times we are living in. There are new scandals every day coming out of the White House. Then you hear about all these horrible events in everyday lives too: murders, rapes, gangs, hate crimes, senseless shootings and more.
What happened to tolerance? I know the gay community has pushed for acceptance. It is a nice fantasy to say that it will happen in our lifetime. Acceptance means that you have a favorable reception to things. Again, what is wrong with pushing for tolerance?
I know that I am much more accepting of things now, than I was growing up. I grew up in a conservative Catholic family. If someone had premarital sex, did drugs, abused alcohol, cheated on their spouse, the person was a sinner. There was no black and white with it.
Now that I am an adult, who is more spiritual than religious, I have a different view of things. Life is complicated — and there is no right way to live your life. What is right for one person may not be right for another person.
For me, tolerance means looking the other way and accepting that there are people who are different than I am. They may be a different race, religion, culture, sex, age, etc. But the bottom line is that they are a fellow human on this planet. And they deserve to be treated as they matter — even if I disagree with them. This seems to be a radical idea these days.
Do I disagree with white supremeists and racists? Yes — but I respect their humanity. These people have family, friends and loved ones just like I do. They have hopes, dreams and desires for their life — just like I do. They are made of flesh and blood just like I am.
If we were all more tolerant in this world, the world would be a better place. Back when gay marriage was illegal, I didn’t have an issue with someone who was against it. I did have an issue with laws being enacted to hurt a class of citizens.
There are people I don’t agree with in this world: Republicans, racists, sexists, devil worshipers, drug and alcohol junkies, ignorant people, users and more. But I am tolerant of said individuals — I respect their humanity. They have a right to life just as much as I do. I don’t have to be their friend, and I don’t want them to be either. If we are both in a public space, they can stay in their area and I can stay in mine.
This is what I mean by tolerance. Let those people live their lives, and I will live mine. They don’t have to like me, or accept me. I am not asking for that. I am asking for being decent to one another. Treating other people with kindness and compassion. I am reminded of “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.” I am fine with this idea. You don’t have to say hello to me at the grocery store or shake my hand in church. Don’t hurt me physically, emotionally or those I love. I don’t think I am asking for a lot.
But in today’s world, this seems to be asking for a lot. Again, back to the Prop. 8 campaign. When my partner (and future husband) were making calls in favor of gay marriage, I was told by a few people that I was going to hell and they wanted to kill me. I would NEVER say that to another human being, even if I felt it! God is the ultimate judge (at least in my world).
The world is made up of a wide variety of people. To me the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. I say we need to bring back tolerance in this world. You live your life, and I will live mine. I will respect your humanity. I ask you to do the same.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.