Cancel culture, censorship, thought speech, implicit bias, silence is violence, my truth, disinformation, misinformation. What has been happening over the last decade, and particularly over the last 4 years in the “free press” has been both hilarious and frightening. Recently, an article was published in the New York post that has been removed on social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, and people who have shared the link have had their accounts suspended. Their defense of these behaviors is flimsy at best, and is certainly unevenly applied.
We are entering into a period in our country where we will either emerge through the crucible of tribulation stronger and more willing to accept the liberties that people have regardless of whether we agree with them, or we will descend into an authoritarian regime wearing the skin of democracy, our freedoms being in name only, and merely a private matter rather than a public one. We are free to speak our minds, but only to ourselves, and only when our people are in power.
History shows us what that mentality brings us: Catholics vs. Protestants in Ireland, Shia vs. Sunni Muslims, The inquisition, The Alien and Sedition Acts, Soviet Pogroms, the rise of German National Socialists. Humans have a need for belonging, but unfortunately that group mentality often results in the exclusion of peoples. Our ability to tolerate isn’t naturally one size fits all. We have, over time in this country, been able to change our understanding of what it means to be human, to be American, to be socially acceptable. And more often than not, this has been for the betterment of our society. We have expanded the parameters by which people are granted liberties and rights, and again, more often than not, that has been for the better.
But there has been a seismic shift in this mentality, and the traditional reversion to “in group” and “out group” or “other,” the tribalism of “Us” vs. “Them,” has once again reared its ugly head. And now we are beginning to see it bubbling to the surface. What we hate, we attack. What we attack, we ban. What we ban, we fear. What we fear, we hate. It becomes an ever tightening circle that leads only to destruction. Again, history shows us the millions of lives lost to that cycle.
We have forgotten what tolerance means, and that is to our collective peril. We forget to give grace, or worse yet, deliberately create unreachable standards and punish those who fail to reach them. For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. Maybe it’s because so many of us have fallen into agnosticism or atheism in this country. Maybe it’s because we worship science with the same zeal that we used to worship God. Maybe it’s because we are trying to form some basis for a humanist religion. Who’s to say?
But what seems to have happened in all of this soul-searching, is that we have left out a forgiveness mechanic. And this itself perpetuates the system, demanding higher and higher levels of perfection until no one is within the in crowd, and the system falls apart. The standard shifts until something as innocuous as jaywalking is treated as a capital offense.
So what do we do? Well, we figure out how to incorporate forgiveness into tolerance again. Being willing to move forward and forgive someone’s transgressions is the first and most important step, because without it, nothing else can happen. We must again become willing to accept people as they are in their beliefs, where they are in their beliefs, and to come to an understanding that everyone runs their race differently. We must also remember that each of us is unique, and we must abandon these notions of collective identity, because as you generalize, you lose the individual soul.
What I see from the Democratic Party, the collectivists, and the leftists, progressives, and globalists does not fit the notions that I want to see in the world. They view tolerance as the adherence to their ideology, and any deviation from that rigid philosophy is regarded as heresy with as much dogma as the fundamentalists they mock. This is not a tolerant bunch, and while I may have many disagreements with Trump, the general views of liberty and trying to make the tent as large as possible resonate with me. I wish to live in a world where we can see people as individuals, capable of individual agency and free choice, respectful of others, and responsible for their actions. That vision doesn’t exist among the left. While Trump has his personal foibles and flaws, and isn’t perfect in his actions, he is the better alternative, and is a lightning rod for the machinations of those who would see our ability to travel toward tolerance crushed.