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A Plea For Toleration

The nation needs to take a collective deep breath. And now.

Obstructionism has turned into hatred and violence. This is not acceptable. “Having a dialogue” should not mean getting angry to the point of violence or total dissociation with another if they disagree with your position.

For all of those advocates of democracy who are normally so vocal? Donald Trump won the presidency. He is the nation’s leader whether you like it or not. Oppose him if you must, intellectually and rationally; but enough with the bizarre and sick vitriol.

I was not a Trump supporter. Nor was I an Obama supporter. However, quaint as it may seem today, I do try to respect the office of the presidency. My anarcho-capitalist/libertarian friends are rolling their eyes, but all of my life I have tried to reconcile my opposition–if such existed–to any elected president or other official with the fact that he or she was, in fact, ELECTED. It remains a testament to the ideological genius of our nation’s founding that we are not ruled by a tyrant, king or any other monarch; the populace votes to put America’s chief official in office through a peaceful transition at the polling booths.

This simple fact–which we take for granted–remains a philosophical miracle even in 2017. No coups, no military overthrows, no attacks from outside forces: America votes her leaders into office.

I am greatly disturbed by the political climate today for a host of reasons, but I will keep this brief. I told myself I would swear off commentary on modern-day politics but I simply cannot remain silent about recent events.

Kathy Griffin’s post of a severed head representing Trump was–to put it mildly–a disgrace. Does she have the right to publicize such things? In this country, yes, for now she does. But to use an image invoking the tactics of terrorists that the entire Western world is fighting was possibly as low as a person could go for publicity. Those who cannot reason, think or articulate instead have to show and shock.

And then there’s my musical hero, Todd Rundgren. I defended him earlier when his video “Tin Foil Hat” took satirical shots at President Trump. That was fine and water off of my back, personally. 99.9% of my favorite rock musicians are far left and I learned long ago to enjoy the music and not worry about the political views of the rock stars.

Rundgren, however, had to double down and call Trump “evil” and make the incredible and incredulous  claim that so-called fans of his who were conservative or Trump supporters didn’t get his music–and never did. Further, he said, they should move on. He also off-handedly defended Kathy Griffin’s horrific action.

Unbelievable for such an open-minded and compassionate artist who has always preached “Love Is The Answer” and individualism throughout his musical career. Or so I thought. I assume now, though, he’s referring to 40-plus year fans like me who are to the right of his way of thinking.

“Evil” is a strong descriptive. I never liked it when a philosopher I admire, Ayn Rand, called another philosopher, Immanuel Kant, evil–and I don’t like it being used now against Trump. Hitler was evil. Pol Pot, Lenin and Mao were evil. These individuals were mass murderers. Immanuel Kant? Donald Trump? Misguided to some, perhaps, or maybe even wrong on every issue. But evil? No.

Human beings were singled out and shot last week at an innocent baseball game practice merely–and sickly–because they were Republicans. No doubt other deranged souls are looking to harm Democrats as well.

We must be tolerant of each other’s beliefs as long as they do not inflict harm upon us or take away our rights. It is important to remember that “toleration” does not mean acceptance: It simply means agreeing to disagree. That is what decent people who make up a decent society used to do. Why aren’t we doing it today? Why is the hatred, the rhetoric, the “debates” so overly and obscenely melodramatic?

The rhetoric and bull crap that is being spewed by celebrities does not help the current sad state of our nation, either.

We as a country are fraying. The center is hanging by a thread. Please: keep your wits about you, your views cogent and civil and don’t resort to hate if others disagree with you.

Please.

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Jack Criss

Jack Criss

Publisher and Executive Editor at BAMSouth.com
Jack Criss is the Publisher and Executive Editor of BAMSouth.com and owner of Criss Public Relations. He is a 30 year veteran of the business publishing industry as well as a former talk radio host, lecturer and author of "Ready, Aim, Right!" (Quail Ridge Press, 2004) and the forthcoming "The Great Greek Philosopher: Aristotle For Young People" (DagKat Press, 2017) as well as a work of teen fiction, "Book Island" and the non-fiction title "SuperfloUS: When Mediocrity Is Enshrined And Civility Fades." He was born, raised and currently lives in Ridgeland, MS and is the proud father of Katie and Dagny.
Jack Criss
Jack Criss
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