Careful, your tolerance is showing

by Julie Frayn on April 26, 2012 in  Bric-a-brac

Alberta recently went through a provincial election. History was made, the first woman elected premier sits in office. She happens to be someone I know personally – how cool is that? But the ‘other’ party came out of this campaign stinking like decaying roses. Wild ones.

Early predictions were that they would take the whole thing and, in the process, oust a party that has been in office 41 years. Happily that didn’t happen. And why not? Because in the home stretch, their tolerance started to show.

Their leader, in response to uproar that she defended some of her flock for their outrageous behavior, stated that they would “uphold the traditions of tolerance, and freedom of expression, and freedom of religion, that have been hallmarks of Alberta’s character for over a century.”

Tolerance. I hate that word. Now, hear me out before you jump to any conclusions.

The blog of one of her candidate’s was pushed out of the closet. It said public education is “godless” because of a policy to prevent bullying of gay and lesbian children, warned gays that they would “suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire” if they did not change their ways, and some great advice for parents everywhere – “accepting people the way they are is cruel and not loving.”

Wow. Is it just me, or is that freaking crazy?

Another candidate claimed to be the best choice over non-whites because he is Caucasian. A third published anti-Semitic articles that included a report on a fictional “Jew tax.” The party’s platform calls for removal of prohibition against posting “no blacks” and “no Jews” signs for employment, lodging or service from our human rights act – the party leader stating “it makes perfect sense” to repeal it.

What is this, 1942? And that’s just the tip of their tolerant iceberg.

Tolerance is the capacity to endure pain or hardship. It is how much opposing force you can inflict on something before it snaps under the pressure. Tolerance is the allowable deviation from a standard.

When I hear someone say they are tolerant, all I hear is “I am right, you are wrong. I will put up with you, tolerate you, until I just can’t take it anymore.” The word is flung around with some new, elevated meaning. Are you above those you tolerate if you claim to have tolerance? I am intolerant of the word tolerance.

There is nothing wrong with disagreement, with differing beliefs and viewpoints. But must we simply put up with each other? Can’t we respect each individual’s right to make choices? Why not use the term acceptance? Some use tolerance as a synonym for that, and they do it with good and noble intentions.  But it doesn’t really mean that. It kind of means the opposite.

As always, the opinions expressed on this blog are mine and mine alone. Just a straight, white girl with no belief in any higher power (shoes and red wine notwithstanding). Just a girl with an amazing circle of family and friends. A circle chock full of agnostics, Anglicans, Mormons, Catholics, Buddhists, gays, straights, artists, accountants, cops, writers, blacks, whites, Asians, and a whole rainbow of other differences.

I love and respect each and every one. I accept them all into my life with no reservations. Unless we’re dining out. Then sometimes reservations are required.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila April 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm

And I thought we had problems in America…it’s the same everywhere I guess…


Julie April 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm

It sucks. One step forward, 50 years back. But in the end, Albertans said no to racism and homophobia and hate. Hooray! I hope the same for the US election.

Carolyn April 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Yours and mine… always great to read you!


Julie April 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Thanks, systir mine.

Mitch April 26, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Great post Jules! I think you should run for office. You’d get my vote for sure!


Julie April 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Hah, yikes. With all due respect to those who seek a life in politics, just poke me in the eye with a hot stick – I’d enjoy it more… 😀

Lisa April 27, 2012 at 5:52 am

” I am intolerant of the word tolerance.” I second that. This world is falling apart in more ways than one, and will continue to do so as long as people merely tolerate one another rather than embracing the idea that our diversity is what makes living so wonderful. I am intolerant of the insanity.


Julie April 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Without diversity, how boring would life be? Like watching nothing but Leave it to Beaver reruns on TV. Like Pleasantville before all the color. Like nilla wafers and nothing but nilla wafers. Yawn…. Thanks for reading, Lisa!

mj monaghan April 29, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I agree that acceptance is a better word than tolerance. Tolerance is more forced than allowed to be a part of your fiber.

We all have our own beliefs – everyone does. But it’s the imposition of individual beliefs that become a problem. I’ve seen it from very liberal and very conservative people. It is not exclusive to one fringe or the other.

Good post. Very thought-provoking. I have nothing witty to say about this. It’s too serious a subject.


Julie April 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Thanks Michael. Sometimes witty isn’t required. Though I can’t stick with serious for too long, since my goofy side takes the helm more often than not. :)

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