I really don’t like what politics and religion bring out in people. We are mean to each other – perhaps, at times, without even realizing it.
Please, have an opinion. Please feel free to express that opinion articulately and with conviction. Please engage in strong debate with someone of an opposing opinion. But please, please, please refrain from trashing a person’s intelligence, or looks, or race, or name, or religion, or family, or personality.
Please stop trying to tear a person down and make them feel low. Please stop demonizing a person as if they are a one dimensional character. Please stop lumping everyone who disagrees with you into the category of “idiot.” Please don’t assume people who prefer the other guy are racist… or terrorists.
Please stop creating an environment where others are afraid to express their views for fear of mocking or judgment. If it’s hard for you to imagine how someone could believe what they believe, then ask them why they believe it. You might be surprised they actually have thoughtful, educated, and informed reasons – even if you still disagree.
I listened to an interview with Josh Brolin on Fresh Air yesterday. Brolin is playing George W. Bush in a movie bio about his life. When Brolin was first approached with the project, he bristled, not wanting to be associated with a president he disagrees with so strongly. But as he read the script, and researched Bush’s life, and learned about the man behind the rhetoric, Brolin had a change of heart regarding his attitude. Here are a few quotes from the interview:
“There’s some things, to my surprise, that I respected. I’m glad I’m more educated now.”
“[I had a] cosmetic reaction. I’d written [George Bush] off by the time Oliver [Stone] had come to me, and I’ve since then learned and feel that it’s incredibly irresponsible to do that.”
“And then you start to do your research and there’s things I felt were very positive and very interesting about his life and his milestones.”
I really appreciate Brolin’s ability to step back from the tribal mentality and find something he appreciates about the man. I don’t imagine it’s as easy for him to disrespectfully mock the Bush administration, or republicans, or evangelicals, now that he feels a sense of sameness with them on a more human level.
Making the movie didn’t change Brolin’s political views, but it did seem to awaken him to his own arrogance.
For living in a society and a city that boasts of it’s incredible “tolerance,” what I see in practice is “tolerance” toward those whom we like and who agree with us. What I see, is that we’re ignorant, and we’re arrogant.
Reminds me a lot of the story about planks and specks.