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Tolerance. It’s an interesting concept. Basically, it means “live and let live”, despite any objections you might have. 

This is the actual dictionary definition — 

I’ve tried to live my life by this principle, I’ve always defended everyone’s right to believe what they want to believe and speak however they want to, but now… I’m not so sure.

Should I be tolerant of people who preach hatred? Should I be tolerant of those who spread obvious lies? I’ve always been warned to show “restraint of pen and tongue”, but those are the gifts I was given, should I reject them in the name of tolerance? It’s like asking an athlete not to be great because it might upset the other kids in the game.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

I love that paragraph. It was written by one of my heroes, Thomas Jefferson, true founder of our country. It’s also a lie. At the time it was written, blacks weren’t free. Indians weren’t free. Women weren’t free. Nor were they equal.

But it’s a idea; the idea that this country was founded on, one that perseveres to this day: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…

A more perfect union. Yes, we are better than we were. We’ve recognized our faults; we’ve tried to correct our mistakes. It’s been painfully slow, and many people have died waiting for that day, but we’re still evolving, as a nation, and as a species.

But alas, we are at a crossroads… As we move through the 2nd year of the pandemic, things we were told, information we have been given, has turned out to be inaccurate. That’s the nature of discovery. You’re going to be wrong more often than you’re right. In fact, the only way science advances is by proving the last guy to be wrong. But we always listened to the experts.

Now, we demonize them. We slander them. We make up lies about them. And then we disseminate those lies on the public airwaves. And then we make up new lies to counteract the information that we were given. Suddenly, everyone with a laptop and a high-speed internet connection is an expert. And to top it off, they all have an audience. Some bigger than others, but nowadays, everyone has got an audience. 

Which leads me to tolerance.

Should I be tolerant of those who deliberately dispense false information? Should I be tolerant of the anit-vaxxers and the bigots and the zealots and…
well, the liars? 
Should I show restraint of pen and tongue? 

I always ask people, “what’s more important, honesty or loyalty”?
And they usually respond, “they go hand in hand”, which of course isn’t true.
No one has every “honestly” answered the question, 
“Does this dress make me look fat?” 
To do so would hurt the person you love most, so you bend the truth in the name of loyalty.

When I was a kid, a friend of mine drew on the PS 102 school yard wall. Somehow, my name came up, and the Vice-principal, Walter Cazzaza, got me in his office. I was 8 years old. I was terrified. 
When he asked me who did it, I had a choice, 
honestly or loyalty…

Of course, I chose loyalty and told him I didn’t know.
I lied.

Now, 40 years later, I am faced with this question on daily basis…
Do I chose truth, or friendship?
Honesty or Loyalty?
Do I “live and let live”?

For the past 5 years, I’ve increasingly chosen truth over friendship, honesty over loyalty, and it has cost me…

We’ve come to live in an age where facts aren’t as important as feelings; in which lies are given the same amount of oxygen as the truth. In the past 18 months, its only gotten worse. I’ve had to cut out people from my life. Some were frivolous friends; some merely acquaintances. I don’t really care about them; nor do I care about the worthless cretins who spew their lies for political gain. Let them lose their souls.

But some, were and are, dear and lifelong friends.
Do I chose them or the truth?
Honesty or Loyalty?
Fact or Fiction?

Someone recently said to me (via facebook), 
“If everyone thought the same, imagine how boring the world would be.”
Yeah, imagine a world with no wars, no violence and everyone has healthcare. How boring.
I blocked him.

Restraint of pen and tongue?
Not while I can still do both.