April 29, 2021
This week, after a speech in which the nation was asked to believe that white terror groups are the single greatest threat to America, an African American man gave a response to that speech. Within minutes, the hashtag “Uncle Tim” was trending on Twitter. It was not taken down by those in charge at Twitter and continued to grow. This abject racism was spewing from the same people whose party leader only moments before tried to convince America that the problem was rooted on the other side of the fence. During the speech, a woman of color sat directly behind the president. No hate for her trended on Twitter. Only after the speech did the hate trend, from the left, for a man of color they disagree with. Regardless, the most dangerous force in America is not the almost nonexistent extreme of either white supremacy – or black supremacy. See, the racist whackos exist on both sides; there just aren’t enough of them to trifle with. Nope. The most dangerous force in America, the greatest threat to our democracy and our continued ability to function together as teams is the absolute lack of tolerance that exists for any idea that’s different from our own.
And that’s the point for the week.
It used to be that diversity of thought was OK. It’s what made America great. From many points of view came common solutions to complex problems that propelled this nation forward through war, pandemic, economic collapse, and true terrorist attacks. In fact, it’s the motto of this nation: E Plurbis Unum – From Many, One. We used to listen to one another. We’d learn from one another. And in doing so, we’d learn to trust one another, care for one another and even die for one another.
But somehow, it gave way to a condition where if you don’t think like me, I’m going to hate you, cancel you or brand you a terrorist threat. Any organization, whether a family, a company, a community group or a country that allows itself to be torn apart from within is destined to fail – for no other reason than nothing is possible when only half of something is pulling on the rope.
If the history of this country has taught us nothing it should be that power is temporary and abuses of it have consequences. Truth always prevails. Light always overcomes darkness. Evil is always overcome.
And so, I remain hopeful that this too shall pass. That racist attacks like we saw last night will end. That silly terrorist declarations meant to incite and ridicule will stop so that we can unite as a nation in facing true enemies. That the violence we see each day in our cities will end. And that the intolerance, on both sides, of the ideas and opinions of others will give way to meaningful discussions about things that actually matter. And that words from the leaders of this country about uniting its people will be replaced with actions that actually align with them for once.
This won’t be a great country as soon as Republicans start complying with the demands of liberals no more than it will start being a better country when Democrats start complying with the demands of conservatives. Businesses don’t work that way either. We can only achieve greatness when all of us make a simple choice to start talking and listening to one another again, when we start tolerating each other again, when we start loving one another again.
Until then it’s going to be a mess – of hateful hashtags, of each side blaming the other for a pandemic neither side to this day knows barely one thing about, and of boys crying wolf again and again over the days latest outrage or grievance while the nation slips deeper into debt and malaise.
We can be better than that. We can start by tolerating what comes out of the mouths of others.
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