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Tammy Messina: Intolerance fuels hate and bigotry

Posted: May 10, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 10, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

Hate. It’s a strong word. It’s a strong emotion. And it’s often used to describe Republicans.

In fact, the labels of "bigotry" and "hater" have been slung quite liberally and with precise aim in the direction of my very Republican household over the past couple of weeks. So I took a little time to do an introspective self-check and glance around at my associates.

Merriam-Webster defines hate as: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury; extreme dislike or antipathy

A quick Google search on "Republicans hate" returns over 50 million results. The corresponding result on "Democrats hate" returns an equally large number. But do any of us really "hate" other people the way that each side would like to paint the other to be?

Apparently, Republicans hate immigrants, the poor, and women (remember the "war on women"?)

Bill Maher says Republicans "hate fags."

Ari Rabin-Havt is one of many columnists and radio hosts, who say Republicans "hate the President" and "hate the First Lady."

I am a Republican. I don’t hate people, and I most definitely don’t hate an entire classification of people. Interestingly, neither do any of the Republicans I know.

As with any group of individuals, not everyone agrees on everything or behaves the same way. And there are some Republicans who may be extreme in their views to the point of hatred. But they are the exception, not the rule.

Hating a policy, position, or viewpoint is not the same as hating a person. Rational folks can separate the person from the ideology, even to the point of liking the person but disliking, and yes, even hating the ideology that a person stands for.

Bigot is an equally intense word. It, too, evokes strong emotions and immediately serves to create a dividing line.

A quick search on "Republican bigotry" returns nearly 3.5 million results! The search on "Democratic bigotry" returns over 3.6 million results.

Merriam-Webster defines bigot 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.

Reading the definition of bigot, both Democrats and Republicans (or anyone who firmly holds a belief in or opinion of anything, be it a specific religion, global warming, or what color the sky should be) are bigots according to the first part of the definition. It’s the second part of the definition that becomes problematic… "treating members of a group with hatred and intolerance."

Just to be crystal clear, I looked up the definition of intolerance. Merriam-Webster defines intolerance as: Not tolerating (support, respect, permit) beliefs etc. that differ from one’s own; unfriendly or hostile towards person of another racial or religious group; unwilling to put up with something specified; unable to endure something specified.

The recent events surrounding the SCV Mayors Prayer Breakfast, with picketers holding "COEXIST", "End the Bigotry", and "Standing on the Side of Love" signs served to further highlight the lack of tolerance.

The picketers intended to show that the attendees were intolerant, but what they clearly demonstrated was their intolerance of the attendees.

We can disagree on issues, but still treat people with love and respect. Intolerance is not necessarily fueled by hatred. And you can choose to tolerate someone’s beliefs with which you disagree, however it does not mean you must compromise your own beliefs to accommodate theirs.

The important thing is for the discourse to remain civil in order to arrive at workable solutions.

Political operatives spouting sound bites about Republican hatred, bigotry, and intolerance doesn’t help anyone. Stop with the name calling and labeling, it only fuels the hatred on both sides.

And for the record, if there’s one thing this Republican hates … it’s hate.

Tammy Messina is a resident of Santa Clarita, a local business owner and a producer for "The Real Side Radio Show." She can be reached at tmessina@wildcat.la.

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