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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tolerating intolerance

At least once a week, I meet a liberal who, like myself, is fighting the new GOP. Unlike myself, however, the way they are fighting is through total intolerance. I fight with facts, logic, a lot of snark and satire and I would never try and force anyone to believe the same things I do. That, in my opinion, is not being liberal.

Liberals are tolerant, accepting, open-minded and well, liberal. Yet there are liberals who badger, insult, swear and call names, all while screaming at the right wing for being intolerant. Yeah, that doesn't work, kids. And here's an example.

My friend, Terri, went to the mall with her daughter. Now, Terri is boycotting Chik-Fil-A, as am I. Her daughter, who is 20, has a full time job and pays all her own bills, wanted to eat a little fast food while at the mall, and wandered over to CFA for a sandwich and some sweet tea. Terri's daughter is also pretty feisty, so she took a photo of her mom standing in front of Chik-Fil-A and posted it to Facebook. Oh, Terri's daughter is a pro-marriage equality liberal.

Terri and her daughter were attacked by a mutual Facebook friend. And I mean attacked. This person called Terri's daughter a bitch, swore profusely and sounded exactly like the Tea Partiers who call liberal women "cunts" and "libtards." It was truly offensive and it was incredibly rude. It was also hurtful to Terri and her daughter to be attacked by a fellow liberal as if they were violating some sacred liberal law. What Terri did was behave exactly like a true liberal-she let her daughter choose.

I abhor the fact that CFA donates money to hate groups. I also realize that those mayors who publicly tried to ban CFA from their towns and cities really screwed up, as did the mutual Facebook friend. You cannot legislate morality, no matter the side, and no matter how noble you think your cause may be. Those mayors tried to tell a private company they could not open restaurants in specific cities because (and here's the problem) of what the Cathy family believes about marriage. At the time of the mayors' statements, they never spoke to the hate groups CFA gives money to, only the statement released by Dan Cathy about traditional marriage. And that's when it all went to hell, allowing idiots like Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin to start crowing about free speech.

Terri's daughter has every right to order food from Chik-Fil-A, as much as I have every right to boycott them. Neither of us has any right to try and force the other to do what we're doing. I lost a Facebook acquaintance today because I stated I would never force my beliefs on anyone, not even my own son. The acquaintance responded with an insult against my parenting. HELLO?? We're all supposed to be on the same side here, remember? I am a hardcore LGBT ally, and don't try to tell me differently. Don't tell me you don't have to force your kids not to support bigotry, as if I do. My son has told his teenage friends that not letting gay people get married is "stupid." Don't EVER insult my parenting, and don't insult my friends' parenting. Ever.

Here's the deal. If your idea of being a liberal is trying to force others to march lock step with you, then I don't have any use for you whatsoever. I have been slammed so may times for not being some sort of brainwashed liberal, and it's true. I am not a brainwashed liberal. What I am, however, is a real liberal. Along with so many of my friends, I believe in peace, equality, freedom and social justice. I believe in a better America, I believe in learning, not ignorance, and I believe in the truth.

So, that's that. Want a lock step liberal who screams and yells and calls someone's 20-year old daughter a bitch? You don't want me. Want a smart, funny, loving, open-minded middle aged woman with a mind of her own and a fierce desire to change the world for the better? Okay, come on over, we have pie.

© Erin Nanasi 2012