Monday, April 28, 2014

Tolerance... You keep using that word...

I do not think it means what you think it means...

I was searching the intarwebs for a nice Norman Rockwell item to use for my background today.  It simply amazes me the output that this man had during his lifetime.  Both quality and quantity is amazing for one man.

During that search I ran across two disparate threads to follow that led me to very different places.  One led me to a blog by a gay woman who enjoys competition poker.  The other led me to the Wikipedia page on Adolf Eichmann.  Far sides of the coin by any estimation.  However, after reading the entry that led me to the first and looking at a picture on the second, it amazed me that I could draw the same conclusion from reading both pages.

On the first, the writer was having a conundrum about an item posted on a friend's Facebook feed.  The friend in question is very devoted to her religious beliefs and posted a meme saying basically that while they do not agree with or condone her lifestyle, they will not let that get in the way of their friendship, but that the other side should recognize the same right to belief and lifestyle that they are demanding from those of the various religious groups.  And really, it is part of that whole First Amendment thing.  You may not agree with it, as they may not agree with yours, but both of you have the right to have and follow your beliefs and opinions.  However, this special snowflake failed to see the underlying message, and decided to write a long answer to the meme, doing exactly what she claimed the other side was doing to her side.  She demanded tolerance of her lifestyle, while showing intolerance of the other person's beliefs.

So how does this relate to the second thread?  The one about the unrepentant Nazi who assisted in the slaughter of millions of people?  While I was reading that page and not really finding anything new about the man or his deeds, I saw a picture.  It was a simple picture, but one that hit me more than any argument that I have read on either side of the gay marriage issue.

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-74237-004, KZ Auschwitz-Birkenau, alte Frau und Kinder.jpg

The picture is of an elderly woman walking with three small children, the oldest child appearing to be no older than five, the youngest a toddler.  They have little but the clothing on them.  The caption tells me that they are Hungarian Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp, walking towards the gas chambers in the early summer of 1944.  None of them would see another dawn.

It struck me that those claiming hurt in today's world, claiming to be the subject of horrible intolerance due to their sexual preference (or religion on all fronts in this country), really don't have a grasp on what intolerance is, nor do they suffer as have those that fought for civil rights before them.  While I applaud their efforts for the recognition of same sex marriage and all the tax implications that come along with it, they seem bent on senseless fights, like forcing a bakery to sell them a wedding cake.  While the blogger did acknowledge that lack of struggle on her part compared to that of Dr. King or Harvey Milk, I fear that those on her side really don't understand the gravity of the words they use to describe their struggle.  Think of those in the picture above.  Until you have walked in their shoes, you don't really have major problems with tolerance or the lack of it.