Calm down and be tolerant

by John Mulholland
by John Mulholland

I hope people are taking the time after this election to really examine what tolerance is. I hope that we are looking at just how tolerant we are instead of just blaming the other side for being intolerant.

When I was a child I remember telling Polish-invention jokes. They were about stupid inventions that only Polish people would make. The thing is, I had never met a Polish person and knew nothing about their country, culture, or history. Everybody else was telling the jokes so it must be OK.

Fortunately, I have matured. I actually learned something about Poland, their rich history, and even their contribution to mathematics including a lot of their work on the Enigma machine. I look back to a bit of shame at my own ignorance and participation in popular intolerance.

As our society takes a better look at getting rid of bullying, I reflect on how our society still bullies. There are popular targets such as Justin Bieber. If it is wrong to pick on a popular target at the local high school, isn’t it wrong to pick on somebody like Justin Bieber?

This presidential campaign has been a tough one with a very loud candidate who doesn’t mind insulting people and a media that loves to promote it. The other candidate has been much more passive aggressive, leading her supporters to say that the supporters of the first are racist homophobes and even called them the deplorables while claiming to stand for love and tolerance.

It is up to each of us to take a stand against the intolerance. You should not be targeted because of your race, sexual preference, or who you voted for. You voted for Trump? Great, I want to make sure to understand why before I dehumanize you. I think that we can find a lot in common.

You voted for Clinton? I want to understand why. I think that we can find a lot in common.

You voted for neither? I still want to understand your thinking and why you made that decision.

I remember hearing President Obama talk about people needing to actually go out and meet some Muslims instead of just relying on what the media was saying. We should all do the same. Make sure you take the time to actually meet and understand those that think differently than you do.

Remember, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”

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