We live in a divided society where political preferences have become standards. If you’re liberal you do not associate with those “myopic intolerant” conservatives. And if you’re conservative you do not associate with those “crazy pro-death” liberals. True tolerance, even from those who claim to be tolerant, is rare. I believe true tolerance is the ability to accept another’s right to decide his or her own beliefs. Tolerance does not involve liking a person, or even understanding them. The only thing we need to understand about some one is that they are human, And just maybe, if we’re able to tolerate the differences, we might be able to learn something from each other.
In the short 18 years that I’ve lived I’ve known many contrasting personalities. My grandfather is a strict Baptist. Card games, smoking, and of course rock and roll are all sinful. I have never shared those views, much less found any logic behind them, but I never challenged him out of respect. He may not agree with my clothes, or my music, but we don’t discus those topics. We have found common values in peace and fishing. After we found our similarities I saw the best aspects of him rather than the ones I disagrees with. He became and example of love, generosity, and strength.
I have also had to overcome differences with people on the opposite side of the political scale. While working at a local store fittingly titles “Open Mind” I met many psychics, one of which stood out the most. Her name is Mary and one of the first questions she asked me was, “What’s your sign?” I happen to know I’m a cancer; however, I only think of it in terms of the terminal disease rather than an astrological determining of my personality and future. After talking to her enough we found common ground on mutual acquaintances and chocolate. Out of curiosity I had a “reading” done by her. She mentioned astrology more times than I cared for, however she was mainly giving advice. Most of it was common sense rather than prescience, but it was nonetheless helpful. I know I have a sign that kills millions of people. But she showed me ways to be more confident in my decisions.
If I were to associate only with people that agree with me my social experience would be very easy, but pathetically limited. More importantly, I wouldn’t have the same understandings about love, generosity, strength, and confidence. Tolerance is difficult, I have to swallow my pride and allow some one else the right to a different opinion, but it is essential for discovering the things in life that are most important.
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