Tolerance, a word used far too much and far too little in my opinion. The way I am talking about it, in a politically charged ( and often misused) way, tolerance means being open to differences; whether cultural, political, religious, or otherwise. The thing is, that in the context of my own life "tolerance" has always been something I was expected to give more of , with far less emphasis on the recieving end. Throughout my life I have had my views challenged, and often reshaped in the name of tolerance. "Be tolerant" my peers urged, when I took a Pro-life view of abortion. "Be tolerant" they commanded when my Dad pulled up with a Prop 8 sticker on his bumper. " Be tolerant" they clamoured, when I related my personal opinion about illegal immigration. The thing is, my peers were right. Often times I was insensitive and close-minded when I formed my opinions. There were many instances in which I could have benfited from hearing another's point of view, from having sympathy for someone who was struggling. I honestly want to be kind and understanding to everyone regardless of who they are, or where their life has taken them. It's a hard thing to do. What I think my peers really wanted though was something different.
For many "be tolerant" means "change your opinion so that it is the same as mine". Take this logic for example: "Be tolerant of those who consider abortion Kelsey, you don't understand their situation..." ---"OK I guess that's fair" ---" So you're pro-choice now right?" ----"ummm-no" I should sympathize more with those in the tough situation of an unwanted pregnancy, it's true I haven't been in the situation myself and I couldn't understand how hard it is. I should not judge those who have chosen a legal abortion, I should not hate them, or say or do anything to hurt or harm them. But that does not mean I have to advocate abortion --or even the right to it.As far as the law goes, it is my right to vote for or against something based on my own opinion, whether that fits in with someone else's agenda or not. And guess what else? I can vote with my religious beliefs in mind, just as much as I can vote based on what the Crazy 8 ball told me the night before...that's my right in a democratic society and one that has been extolled as a basic human right in this Country as well.
So many people have told me to "be tolerant", but in the process of saying it have lacked tolerance toward me. Be tolerant peers, of my religious views and their role in the formation of my personal opinons. Be tolerant friends, of my choice to marry young, to keep the Sabbath day holy, to have a lot of children, to abstain from caffeine. Don't post malicious comments or videos on facebook or your blog about Mormons and how they are crazy or cultish or nerdy or pompous or intolerant. Because that friends is just simply not tolerant.