Tolerance is a Team Effort……..

When I do have time to myself I often find my brain thinking about a bunch of subjects all at the same time. I tell my wife that my brain kind of works like a bingo ball machine. Air causes the numbered balls to float around in a basket until one finally reaches the top and gets chosen and announced to the players. My blogging ideas work on the same principle and as we get closer to Christmas I have been thinking quite a bit lately concerning the fact that people just don’t seem as happy as they used to be.

For instance, when I was a wee lad everyone celebrated Christmas. There wasn’t a generic Happy Holidays anywhere to be found. Now it seems like someone or other somewhere is either afraid to say Merry Christmas before I do or maybe their employer won’t let them. Either way it is a bit sad. Several companies I have worked for in the past had Christmas traditions that were lost because of some disgruntled employee complaining. One company I remember had a  security guard who was a talented artist. He would paint wonderful Christmas scenes every year on huge plate-glass windows in the building’s lobby. After 10 consecutive years the painting was forbidden because someone who did not celebrate Christmas found the scenes to be objectionable. Instead of just ignoring the scenes this miserable person ruined something nice that brought a smile to a majority of employees. Just didn’t seem fair somehow. When did we become a society that valued a whiner’s opinion over a majority of other people’s wishes. I know if I see something I don’t necessarily like I move on and figure someone else might like it so who am i too judge. Now though offended people have simply learned that it’s OK to be bullies. I don’t get it.

Another company I worked for allowed Christmas decorations regardless of grouchy complainers who might be offended. However Easter decorations became an issue one year. Someone had decorated their cubicle with Easter eggs and an Easter bunny picture and it was colorful and cute. Along comes a visitor from India who objected to the Easter display because he didn’t celebrate Easter where he came from. The company forced the cubicle’s inhabitant to take down the display. Maybe it was a sour grapes attitude but I remember joining in and making sure the person who complained felt uncomfortable by discussing Easter traditions like egg dying and  Easter egg hunts with like-minded co-workers. Heck we even discussed the Christian aspects and meaning of Easter just to put this foreigner in his place. I guess I can be tolerant as long as it is returned in kind. Otherwise, well don’t step on my traditions and expect me to make you feel comfortable when you deny me something I enjoy. Fair is fair.

People used to be able to enjoy all holidays without some offended whiner complaining and causing trouble. I’m Christian, did Hanukkah decorations or celebrations bother me, Nope not at all. Yet I’m told my open displays of Christianity might make someone feel uncomfortable or angry. Well too bad for them, I will tolerate you and your beliefs but tolerance is a two way street. Complain about my traditions or practices and I have no sympathy or empathy for how you feel. Unfortunately we have slipped down the proverbial slippery slope when it comes to diversity. We seem to go out of our way to include diversity in every form to the point that we are losing our own individual rights to freedom of speech and religion. This is America, the melting pot where people come to make a better life for themselves as Americans. Today a large segment of our society thinks we should embrace diversity at any cost. Even if that means we should give up are rights in deference to newcomers. Sorry, this old man believes that giving up my rights is too high a price to pay for diversity. If you come here and expect tolerance you need to also be tolerant. Otherwise you’re not going to find a hospitable atmosphere especially if you whine and complain. Civility and tolerance are team efforts. Otherwise intolerance and uncivil behavior becomes the norm or should I say a form of self-defense.

 

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