23 June 2014

Living by definition

Why is it that others expect you to be considerate and open to their positions and points of view but don't extend the same courtesy to you?  They post something on social media or say something at a gathering that is completely off base and factually incorrect but you smile and let it go.  It's what expected because you two hold opposite views on 'hot button' topics.  Yet if you were to say something to the contrary or insert the correct facts into the stated position, you are now labeled as being something horrible.

How is it if one person of one mindset says something that is factually incorrect but the person who happens to be of another mindset shares the actual facts, the person with the facts is stated to be hateful, ignorant, or somehow mean?  It is possible to hold differing opinions on a subject.  It happens all the time and has been going on since the beginning of time.  Why is it when someone who has been labeled with a 'conservative' mindset states a position that is in opposition to one who has been labeled with a 'liberal' mindset, the 'conservative' is the one who gets called names when it's the one with the label of 'liberal' that spends the majority of their energy screaming how we should all be tolerant of one another and accept all points of view.

Apparently, it's only acceptable and tolerated to accept their point of view.  They can scream and call others nasty names, lead emotionally based arguments that hold no factual foundation, and wave the flag of so-called tolerance but if you calmly, articulately, and intelligently debunk their emotional position with actual factual data then you are being hateful.  Gotcha.  Facts have no position in their world... and apparently neither does true and actual tolerance, love, understanding, or open-mindedness.

Perhaps the definition of tolerance should be changed from "the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with" to something less forgiving so it fits the behavior better.  Discussing different points of view is a wonderful activity and it enriches the lives of those conversing... so long as it is truly open, honest, non-emotional based positions.  Being able to disagree and discuss is fabulous and something that I personally am a big fan of doing because I learn a lot - about myself and about others.  It's never emotionally charged, attacking, or demeaning to the person I am conversing with and it should always be rooted in the desire to learn and share positions, experiences, and knowledge.

As one who has been called many a mean thing simply because I do not agree with another person's position, who is truly the more tolerant - the one who attempts to share and gain knowledge or the one who calls someone names simply because they hold a different position?  If being more liberal with viewpoints means that I need to be more 'tolerant' in the ways that have been displayed, I think I will pass.

If one is going to claim to live by a definition then be sure to learn the actual definition, embrace it, embody it, and champion it.  Don't morph it to fit what you need, live it as is states.  If you need to morph it, ask yourself why and who it truly benefits in the end... chances are, it's just you.

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