The biggest complaint about politics in Washington is that the two major parties have become polarized and that this polarization has led to incivility and an unwillingness to compromise. Of course, this is not exactly a new development because I remember my ND Senator Byron Dorgan complaining decades ago that Washington needed to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.
As a big advocate of civility and compromise, I am fond of a quote from Robert Kennedy about tolerating the opinion of others:
- “What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”
This admonition applies equally well toward conservatives and liberals.
Last week on the Dom Imus talk show, however, I heard a guest speak about tolerance in a negative way. Former SEAL Leif Babin, whose company Echelon Front does motivational work, emphatically declared:
- “It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.”
I can’t recall if Babin was referring to civilian employment, military matters, or foreign policy, but I think he makes a good point. Although you will usually want to tolerate the opinions of others, there are other situations where you, as a leader, will not want to tolerate certain conduct.
All of which brings me to a Facebook discussion I had earlier today after a liberal friend, Ana Alicia Perez, posted her agreement with a news report titled, “St. Louis County Officer Suspended After Bigoted Video Rant.”
Not surprisingly, her mostly liberal friends quickly agreed in condemning the law officer. The following is an example:
- Lance Stoll This is why I harp on the idea of the Christian Taliban, because that is what is wrong with this country…racism, sexism, homophobia, ethnocentricity and patriotism all wrapped up in the perverse religion of evangelical christianity..this is the fascism we should fear!
Because I thought the commenters were too quick to judgment, just like in the Ferguson shooting, I provided my two cents:
- Mike Kueber I don’t have the time to listen to the one-hour so-called rant, but I have read the USA Today and HuffPost articles, and they are all deficient in specifying precisely what the guy said that was so inflammatory or incendiary. I didn’t read of anything remotely racist other than him thinking President Obama was from Kenya. And the only thing homophobic related to his disagreement with the Supreme Court over sodomy laws. Sexist? What am I missing? These comments make is sound like we are dealing with a Hitler-esque evil.
Not surprisingly, my post was quickly attacked:
- Paul Sean Moreno Excuse me Mike he said gays, women, migrant, Obama is an illegal among other things that were hatred not rants. You are missing a mind! Get your head outta of your ass moron!
Some guy tried to defend me:
- Ellis Artist Paul, should we take your intolerant words and taunting to Mike Kueber as signs that your temperament would cause problems and abuses as a policeman working with others who think differently?
But Paul Sean was of no mind to be tolerant, and instead post four consecutive rants:
- Paul Sean Moreno Mike you are my moron of the week!
- Paul Sean Moreno The problem is you don’t think – swallow that!
- Paul Sean Moreno The only intolerance Ellis is accepting that Mike’s words are acceptable. They are not.
- Paul Sean Moreno Mine may be not but they are the truth.
So, what does this have to do with tolerance? It seems to me that Paul Sean is intolerant, and I wish Ana Alicia Perez would sanction his intolerance by unfriending him.