Intolerance and the left

Armstrong Williams | 4/4/2013, 5:32 p.m.
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In our current politically charged atmosphere, anyone who disagrees with the president is a racist. Anyone that objects to the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage is a bigot. Anyone who goes to church is a hate-filled Christian. Sometimes those accusations are correct, but unless they talk to and get to understand someone's beliefs, the accusers are just as guilty of hate and intolerance.

Perhaps their policy disagreement with the administration is just that--a policy disagreement. Maybe they disagree with Obamacare not because it's socialized health care, but because they believe it is a poor law, clumsily enacted and failing to address the issues it purports to solve. What if they think that same-sex marriage should be passed by the legislatures rather than through judicial fiat? For them, this is a case about judicial certiorari. What if they take to heart Jesus' teaching to love your neighbor with all your heart, regardless of their neighbor's actions? Are those hate-filled sentiments?

It does no good to simply point the finger. It is more helpful, more tolerant, more loving to try to "walk a mile in their shoes" and attempt to see things from another person's perspective. When we do that, we open ourselves up to new ideas and understanding. If we truly believe that holding a nuanced position is a virtue as well, then we must constantly guard against jumping to conclusions.

The Civil Rights Movement relied on people realizing that color made no difference. As more interracial friendships and relationships developed, it became harder for society to deny the institutional inequality that existed. This took people actually getting out and interacting with one another. This meant that both Blacks and whites had to move past their preconceptions of each other and find a new path, together.

In a healthy democratic society, the key is rational discourse rather than insults. Conservatives are legitimately evaluating themselves, but as long as the left continues to demagogue its opponents as less than human, we cannot come work together as a society to solve our problems.

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