Live and let live. PLEASE

Bigot (per Wikipedia, and confirmed elsewhere): "defined by Merriam-Webster as "a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance".  Bigotry may be based on real or perceived characteristics, including age, disability, dissension from popular opinions, economic status, ethnicity, gender identity, language, nationality, political alignment, race, region, religious or spiritual belief, sex, or sexual orientation.  Bigotry is sometimes developed into an ideology or world view."

I've seen a lot of this lately.  It drives me crazy.  People who claim they aren't bigots are some of the biggest bigots I have ever come across.  It doesn't matter what the "justification" is.  It's still being a bigot.  Things like this...

"I hate..."
...Christians, cuz they just wanna force their faith down my throat. (makes you a bigot)
...Muslims, cuz they're all terrorists. (makes you a bigot)
...Gays, cuz the Bible tells me so.  (makes you a bigot)
...Atheists, cuz they want to take me from my God.  (makes you a bigot)
...Conservatives, cuz they have no heart or soul.  (bigot!)
...Liberals, cuz they're all a bunch of pot smoking commies.  (aaannnnnd, BIGOT!)


I don't give a damn what you think is a "valid reason."  Hating an entire group is being a BIGOT!  Deal with it.  Face it.  Come to terms with it.

There's a difference between, "I hate how some members of the Christian faith can't just accept that I believe differently" and, "I hate Christianity.  It's all crap.  Faith is dumb.  I need to make them stop believing."  You see that last there?  That last part of that last sentence?  THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU CLAIM YOU HATE ABOUT CHRISTIANS!  And, it makes you a BIGOT!  The same is true for any group.  (and, FYI, faith and religion are not the same)

I can't stand the Tea Party.  And Faux News.  And Pat Robertson.  And terrorists (NOT talking about Muslims.  I have no problem with Muslims - they are not the same thing!  Christians are terrorists, too.  And, Jews.  And and and... HellooOOooOO!).  However, I do not think that all members of a given group, org, or whatever are bad.  I don't feel compelled to go out and force my views down their throats (while complaining that they do that to me, but MY need to do it is "okay").  Or to rail against them and call all who agree with them idiots and morons.  Individuals may be a part of a group for a variety of reasons.  The Tea Part as an organization sucks, but I know lots of good people that think it's on to something.  The same with Faux News followers.  Yes, I tend to think of them as sheeple.  That's my bigotry.  But, I recognize it.  And, as hard as it is, I admit it, and I'm trying to correct it.  I won't deny it.  I won't call someone else out, but deny my own.  That's just hypocrisy, which is almost as bad.

Live and let live, people.  You wanna believe what you believe?  Fine. Believe it.  Wanna know what you know you know?  Fine.  Know it.  But, grant me and others the same goddamned courtesy.  You wanna discuss it?  Let's discuss, but recognize that it is to expand your mind and mine, not to change anyone's.  And there's the rub.  Bigots don't want to discuss.  By the very definition, it's clear that they are completely closed off to understanding, to accepting, to tolerating.  They only listen long enough to formulate an argument for why the you are wrong, or stupid, or ignorant, or bad.  A bigot wants to bend others to their worldview at any cost, not expand their own Self or worldview.

I'm tired of it.  You don't like someone's views?  That's fine.  Share yours if they seem receptive and hope they at least grant you the courtesy of a good listen.  If it looks like they don't give a shit about what you have to say, have chosen to ignore or disagree, or are entirely antagonistic, simply disengage.  It's not about you.  It's about that person.  You can share, but DON'T FORCE.  You only validate the other person's low opinion of "other people like you."  It only encourages them to dig in to their bigotry.  And, reinforces yours.  Just walk away.  Not all battles need to be fought and won.  Some things simply aren't even battles unless you make them. 

And, stop judging an entire group based on the shitty behavior of a few highly visible assholes.  YOU aren't like everyone else in the groups you align yourself with.  Neither is anyone else.  We are each unique.  We all have our own journey's.  And lessons. Yes, tolerance of intolerance is cowardly.  But, there comes a time when a lack of tolerance for the views of others (even bigoted and intolerant ones) becomes bigotry.  That time is when an entire group becomes lumped together, rather than a single individual or small sub-group....

Cooperation not opposition.  It's not always easy.  It's easier to get caught up in being right.  But, if we all just learned to accept others' views and be okay with them instead of trying to "fix" them....  And, if we were willing to at least sincerely listen to other viewpoints and consider them....  Well, there'd be no need to fight, now would there?  You can consider and assimilate info without accepting it as your own truth.  Truly.  It's possible.  And then...  And then...  AND THEN....  No more bigots.  Yay!  Dare to dream...

Live and let live, people. Even when it's difficult.  Especially then, actually.  <3

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