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Comments from Frankston, Reed, and Friends

Thursday, November 04, 2004

BobF at 1:24 PM [url]:

The End of Tolerance?

I share the fears that Tom Friedman expresses in Two Nations Under God. You can read a more pointed analysis in Still Missing the Big Picture About This Election. It's not about specific policies such as the war but the basic separation of church and state that has held the country together for over 200 years by not forcing us together.

Now that all branches of government are coming into alignment what is to protect us from the tyranny of a majority that sees other views as immoral and threatening? Our strength comes from tolerating a diversity of ideas rather than trying to predetermine what is good or bad according to a set of preconceived notions. The first amendment of the US constitution is as much about economics as anything else � we don�t just lose our ability to use certain words, we lose our ability to create those innovations which annoy before they delight.

Robert Byrd is far more eloquent that I on the danger as I note Losing America or you can go directly to NPR�s recording.

I hope that the so-called moderate and conservative Republicans share my fear of intolerance and that their voices will be heard. The last four years don�t fill me with confidence but I will do what I can and participate in the process. Opting out is not an option.

We should learn from the experience in Kansas where seemingly minor choices in local school boards led to a state-level school board which sought to replace the teaching of evolution with creationism (or it's cousin, Intelligent Design). When the real intent was revealed (CNN: Kansas school board's evolution ruling angers science community) the board backed off though the effort continues. I�m slightly encouraged, as the Kansas City Star reports that the �pro-evolution� incumbent won this year despite being a Democrat but only by 51 to 49 percent.

Even as we claim to be fighting intolerance abroad, it is a growing influence domestically. Science is simply about asking questions without prejudging the answers. You learn the most when you discover you are wrong! It�s hard to believe that we are entering this new millennia retreating into myth and intolerance. But then again, it is 2000 anno Domini.

As George Lakoff demonstrates in Moral Politics we don�t all think alike. As long as we have checks and balances we can work together. Around the world we�ve seen what happens when alternative views are not tolerated. Can it really happen here?

We mustn�t ignore Martin Niem�ller�s warning just because they came for the gays first.

I sincerely hope I can look back at these comments next year and wonder why I was so afraid. After all, many of those who voted for Bush share my fears � do enough of them?

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