Let’s define the “Bigot.” Trust me… it’s important.
a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.Webster’s Dictionary
- prejudiced person
Do you know of someone intolerant because someone holds a different opinion? I am reminded of a recent LinkedIn post where a gentleman posted something ambiguous about his support for a presidential candidate. However, a gal with a different opinion responded with a clear opposition and a threat of calling his employer and making trouble for him. I was floored at the childish and emotional response. This woman, supposedly an HR “professional,” is a bigot. Now, let me clear a couple of things up.
A bigot is NOT someone that DISAGREES with you. A bigot is someone intolerant of you BECAUSE they disagree with you. It is an important difference, but it also gets a little complex.
For example, if someone BECOMES intolerant of you because you refuse to stop acting like a jackass – simply BECAUSE you disagree with them, then YOU are simply a jackass. The person that has become intolerant of you is entirely justified.
Furthermore, if you refuse to even listen to someone else because you’re too busy trying to shove your position down their throats; if you don’t provide an opportunity for another to exchange an idea because you can’t find it in yourself to hear them out – simply because you think you disagree with them; and if you don’t accept that there are people around you that might have different ideas than you, then that doesn’t make them a bigot, that makes YOU the problem.
If you state a position but cannot listen to, consider, or handle a retort, if someone else states a position and you cannot listen to, consider or handle their position, then you are clearly not grown-up enough to be in that conversation in the first place. You might be the bigot.
How about we accept that people have different ideas? It’s actually a good thing. I want you to know that you can hear different ideas, and it’s not going to hurt you. In fact, it might empower you.
I’ll give you an example. I have studied socialism and communism for many years. I have listened to their leaders and their claims. I have spoken with their passionate followers, and I have listened to their dreams. I have even pondered their promises and considered possible outcomes. Rather than reject it, I listened. And you know what? I learned from it. If nothing else, it empowered me to know more about their position. All of that helped me better understand why such a system is frowned upon, and it gave me even more reasons to reject it. With that power, I am not going to be caught off guard or easily swayed.
Some of you might remember when I did my three-hour show on Youtube. If you recall, we had a card-carrying socialist on the program from the Netherlands. As you know, I fundamentally disagree with his political positions. However, Nekita was a good guy. Sure, we disagreed, but that was okay. At the end of the day, we both just wanted to live our best lives; we just had different ideas about achieving it.
And if you recall, you might also remember how we were able to come up with some pretty interesting hybrid ideas that, in theory, would likely work pretty well. Such ideas couldn’t have been generated if we rejected one another because we had a different opinion.
People can believe in different things than you do, and it’s going to be okay. Listen to their ideas. Learn from them. Tolerance isn’t always a bad thing.
Tolerance is showing a willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. As someone who believes in our Republic, I am willing to share my country with various religions, colors, sexual orientations, and political beliefs. I appreciate the diversity. However, when I am pressured to conform to others’ religions, colors, sexual orientations, and political beliefs, that’s when we have a problem.
Why? Well, look at it this way – why are these people not pressured to conform to what I want or believe? Should I be allowed to force such things? Of course not. And how boring would that be?
If we are truly supposed to be equal in this country, then there has to be a boundary where I can exercise my positions without thrusting it on others. Others can exercise their positions without thrusting it on to me. That’s the way it was supposed to be.
When someone or some group decides that they are going to shove their ideas down your throat and attempt to make you conform to their radical ideas without any consensus, logic, democratic or due process… then YOU have a decision to make. You can always accept it and go along, or you can resist it. What we need to understand is that there is a difference between bigotry and defense.
Before you resist it, though, make sure you have considered it. Make sure you have weighed it both logically and strategically. If after you’ve done that and it still seems crazy, then you might have to do what you have to do, and this is especially true if it is being thrust upon you. In this case, the position is simple: I am not intolerant of your ideas – I am defending myself from the ideas you are thrusting upon me.
Let’s clarify that just because someone has an idea doesn’t necessarily make it a good one. Let’s also clarify that just because something has positive momentum doesn’t necessarily make it acceptable or right. Hitler had some ideas. Jim Jones had some ideas as well. They both had positive momentum. And you know what? They both had passionate followers. Yet, somehow I still don’t think that resisting their ideas would have been a terrible idea. However, you would have had to actually listen to their ideas and weigh them against logic to really be able to walk away or make a stand.
An interesting thing to ponder for sure. Let me reiterate the idea that a bigot is NOT someone that DISAGREES with you or defends themselves against the nonsense you thrust upon them. Instead, a bigot is someone intolerant of you BECAUSE they disagree with you. Know the difference.
Be sure to check out my article “Avoid the Astroturf – It’s Dangerous.” It’s not about the fake grass, it’s about manipulating your opinions.