Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Tolerance for Intolerance

A little girl watches her mother preparing a pot roast for dinner. Mom whacks both ends off the roast and places all three pieces into the pot. When the little girl asks why, the mother says that's how her mother taught her.

Later that week the little girl visits her grandmother. She asks why the ends of the pot roast had to be cut off before cooking. The grandmother laughs and says she quit cutting off the ends after she finally bought a bigger pot.

Funny stories make otherwise forgettable talks something students will remember. For some reason, this story has dropped off my play list. Perhaps some updating would help.

To make it relevant for today, I'd have Mom remove ten percent from each end of the pot roast. Instead of going in the pot, she tosses the ends in the rubbish bin. Grandma would say that before modern refrigeration, you cut off the ends to keep any possible contamination from spreading to the rest of the roast.

OK. Maybe it's not technically correct. But you get the point. We need to keep the ten percent on either end from messing things up for everybody else. Y'all know I tend to be at least a little left of center on most issues. If I'm the most liberal person you know, well, you really need to get out a little more among people less like yourself.

I stumbled upon Joe, My, God when I first started blogging. It was the first gay blog I found that didn't revolve around pictures of naked men or news from the world of gay porn. JMG provides gay news (and trivia!) days before anyone else picks it up along with a lot I don't see anywhere else.

Because it's such a good source of gay news, I read JMG religiously. The snide comments, name-calling, intolerance, and holier-than-thou attitude are offensive to me. Joe is bad enough. The people who comment on his blog are even worse.

For a while I posted comments about the need to avoid the kind of rhetoric and rude behavior we've often had to live with since coming out. These guys are more about an eye for an eye than turn the other cheek. It's like they have a score to settle.

Whippersnappers. I came out before most of them were even born. And I had to walk 15 miles, uphill, barefoot and in snow to do it.

Being confrontational with people about gay issues has never worked for me. Frankly, I rarely discuss gay issues with anyone but my closest gay friends. You wouldn't's a gay thing. I imagine other minorities do the same thing.

I venture to say that just being myself and living my life to the best of my ability all these years has done more to change the way the people I know see gays than any rally, demonstration, or Facebook page ever did. In your face just pisses people off. Push hard enough and the push back can get ugly.

Pay no attention to the lunatic fringe. Whether it comes from the left or from the right, from the Christians or the Muslims, intolerance is intolerance. Throwing rocks, name-calling, and the inability to compromise isn't appropriate in kindergarten, much less in state capitals and Washington, DC.

Intolerance should never be tolerated. We're not in middle school any more. People are different--all of 'em. That's all I gotta say.

The Crotchety Old Man

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