My community of friends include the progressive, conservative, libertarian, environmentalist, anarchist, political agnostic, naturalist, spiritualist, atheist, religious agnostic, god-centered religious, heterosexual, homosexual, transsexual, asexual, vowed to chastity, European, African, American, Asian, and probably a whole slew of other labels I have yet to witness and add to my lexicon or simply forgot to mention. Would the community of citizens demand I sort and toss using an ever-changing populist definition of proper? If so, they miss the beauty of humanity.
We are intended to be a thinking and diverse animal. It takes tolerance to live and love. Tolerance is not the forced application of your beliefs, but the willingness to let others live by and share their beliefs. I argue strongly this is so even when those beliefs seem harsh, unscientific, and/or contrarian. I find no place for righteousness akin to the Pharisees even when this is the choice of path taken by the religious agnostic. Equally, I find no place for deafness or fear of free speech when the righteous feel compelled to speak.
I invite my friends to share with me their views of government, charity, spirituality, humanity, community and so on, even should these not strike my fancy. This would be an open invitation to talk about sex, religion and politics should these be your passion. There is an implied reciprocal contract friends. When I share my views, concerns and yes, even questions don’t take offense. Challenge me to read your sources, to consider your conclusions. It’s conversations among the diverse that better us, hardly does surrounding yourself with like-minded people do the same. I will say I have a clear preference to conversation and not shouting or swearing. I do ask for forgiveness when my weakness to respond in kind places me on the wrong side of my preference. I will call you out for advocating injury or death, as pseudo-tolerance is no justification for standing by as those with little sense of a just and open community seek to silence dissenting thought.
Love you all and thank you for sharing. One small request – regardless of your views or heartfelt positions please refrain from assuming or asserting your neighbor is an idiot, bigot, loudmouth, or any other characterization. We all are the product of our experiences and on very different paths to enlightenment. We would do well to listen, learn and help our community to draw together on a wide number of issues and life concerns. It is what the great philosophers did thousands of years ago and humanity is far the better for it. It is what great scientists have done for centuries and the world is the better for it.
PS: To my Friends on Facebook – should you share my sentiments and find living with them in a world of 1,000 friends difficult, have no fear. Facebook has a wonderful feature called “lists” and a flag called “show in news feed”. These help friends to manage the content of daily conversations drowning their main page. Create a “list” called Political Friends or Postcard Friends or Apolitical Friends, then assign your special friends here. Friends can be assigned to multiple lists. When you’re so inclined to jump into these conversations you can. When you wish to broadcast to the friends on these lists you can. With a little personal effort you can position yourself to be an unconditional friend.