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Over the course of American history, a group of Americans has always stood up to intolerance.  Whether it was against African Americans, women, immigrants, homosexuals, or others, we have stood up and made our voices heard against the seemingly unbreakable wall of intolerance.

Why?

Consider these famous words from Robert Kennedy.

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
We stand up against intolerance because we hold true the values of equality, fairness, opportunity, and freedom.  We stand up against intolerance because it has no place in a democracy; no place in this great American experiment.  We stand up against intolerance because we value treating others as we wish to see ourselves treated.

But mostly we stand up against intolerance because we know that, historically, it is a juggernaut of a force.  It takes tiny acts of courage and belief to collectively break away and erode the juggernaut.

Because with each action we take, we give somebody else that hope that they can share in the same values that our country and so many other democracies around the world are founded upon.  Going back to our birth:

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
Peace
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope"

    by NetminderElite on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 06:11:49 PM PDT

  •  Tolerance is not an unqualified good (0+ / 0-)

    In many cases, we should be intolerant.  We are intolerant of segregation, discrimination, slavery, honor killings, witch burning, torture, cannibalism, and pederasty, not to mention theft, rape, and murder.  Therefore, Americans do not and should not invariably oppose intolerance.

    To put it somewhat simplistically, we should be tolerant of what is good, but intolerant of what is bad.  And so, as always, the ultimate moral question is that of distinguishing the good from the bad, tolerance and intolerance being a secondary consideration.

    •  And how do we distinguish... (0+ / 0-)

      ...between the "good" and the "bad"?  I wonder how we explicitly state what values we hold to be good and bad.  Where do those values come from?

      So for example, how do we determine at our core what makes "segregation" bad?  Because we believe in the values of equality and fairness.

      "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope"

      by NetminderElite on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:57:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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