My UnAmerican Holidays

I live in a country full of all kinds of people

A country based on freedom, on the idea that I have an inalienable right to my own belifs, and the right express those beliefs without being persecuted.

I understand this means my next door neighbors, those worshiping in a church down the street, across town, in another state, from another culture, don’t necessarily share my beliefs.

And I by living here I have explicitly agreed to co-exist with all these diverse individuals, groups, cultures, freaks, bozos, ignoramuses, deep and shallow thinkers, those who love and hate me, for whatever reasons.

So I extend respect to all my fellow citizens, and I tolerate them, and expect them to tolerate me, even when I’m irrascible.

By definition then, we are a tolerant nation. This experiment in tolerance has worked quite well, producing the best place to live on the planet. Not just at the moment, but the best place to live as a human being in the entire history of the human race.

Not only am I proud of this, but profoundly humbled. Why am I so lucky? Why is it I was born a white male in the mid-twentieth century in America? What did I do to derserve the life I enjoy, the wonderfu;ly diverse people I share this life with, the unprecedented opportunity to learn from all these people that tolerate me?

At times I have to compromise my beliefs in order to allow others that disagree with me to tell me what they think, why they think what they think. Yes, I have to allow the laws I live under to govern me. Often I grit my teeth at perceived injustices that I think are unnecessary.

And I am humbled in the knowledge that others have to grit their teeth to tolerate me.

All this makes me happy.

I have one simple request. If you do not want to tolerate me; if you disagree with me so much that you think I should conform to your way of thinking; then you should move somewhere else, because you are UnAmerican.

It is UnAmerican to not tolerate me. It is UnAmerican to not take my views into account. It is UnAmerican to not compromise or take me and others who don’t agree with you into account.

If you want to live in a society where you don’t have to compromise (I don’t really think such a society exists) then move somewhere else. I can suggest a couple of communist nations. Or perhaps you can discover a time machine and go to Germany or Italy in 1938. There was quite a society in Espana in the 1400s that might work well for you.

But if you decide America is where you want to live, I welcome you. Just keep always in mind that by living here you agree to compromise, so we can all live a better, more fair, more just, and more fulfilling life together.

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