On tolerating intolerance

The bruising election has caused a lot of soul-searching on my part. And I suspect for many others too.

My moral framework values tolerance, inclusion and diversity. I feel like I am in the throes of a deep dilemma:

In the face of intolerant behavior of others, what is the appropriate response?  Tolerance or intolerance?

To that end, this quote has haunted me for a year:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

First, we have a president-elect for which his office demands the respect and support of its citizens. What to do when the person occupying the office behaves intolerantly (to put it kindly)? What exactly is being sanctioned?

Second, we have friends & family around us who exhibit intolerant behaviors. This was the case before and after the election.

Has anything changed in terms of how one should respond? Is it now more important to speak out against such behavior? Or to look past these issues to focus on people’s admirable qualities?

I wish I knew.


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