Living in the midwest for a few years now, I've met a lot of nice people. When I first
arrived, I embraced St. Louis as the antithesis of New York City: affordable, spacious,
polite, and importantly, unpretentious. Now that I know it better, I see its downsides
as well. A big one is racism, but I'll address that another day.
What I've been noticing lately is how kind and gentle people can be in person, but when
they reveal their politics, they turn out to be quite ungenerous, if not downright
This seems somewhat decent: whatever your beliefs, still show respect for your fellow human being. It's usually called "tolerance". The crazed radical view is opposite: stick to your
guns. If you have strong feelings about something, act to your convictions.
If that means coming across as an asshole to some sinner, so be it. Their feelings are
secondary The Truth.
As you might expect, I don't subscribe to the latter viewpoint. But the "tolerance" approach
is starting to wear thin. Are all these people who are outwardly nice to me while holding fundamentally opposed opinions lying through their teeth every time they smile? Is it not important to keep
one's actions and values consistent?
Do I recommend all the bigots and zealots stop being kind? No, obviously not. Most believe "common decency" is a good thing. So if consistency is important, but your values aren't respectful, there's really only one solution left. Change your values. Stop being two-faced and teach
yourself that kindness and respect are a higher calling than judgement and condemnation.
Barbarians follow their hate. Civilized people learn to live together in peace.