I know, I know. I promised you all that I was done with these After Dark: Blasts From The Past. But I saved out this one for two reasons: 1) It’s my anniversary, and I might just want to sleep in, and 2) I still feel the topic is relevant today.
Go ahead, enjoy it!
A Lesson in America and the English Language
October 10th, 2008
When I was six years old, I received a lecture from my best friend’s grandmother. We had be running around like six year olds, and I had said that I hated something. I don’t remember what. But just seconds after I’d said it, my friend’s grandmother said to me, “Don’t use that word.”
“What word?” I asked.
“Do you really hate [said thing in question]?”
“Well, no… I just really don’t like it.”
“Then say that. You should never say ‘hate.’ It’s such an ugly and violent word. Say what you mean.”
Feeling unjustly chastised, I agreed, and my buddy and I went on playing.
That memory has stuck with me for two reasons. The first, because we all hold on to embarrassing moments and remember them far better than our happiest. And secondly, the older I get, the more I realize how right she was.
In my life, I genuinely hate maybe only a couple of people. Trust me, they are very bad people whose names start with the letter “J”, and, honestly, hating them hurts me more than them. Unless I see them in person.
Why am I bringing this up? Proposition 8 in California. For those of you who either do not live here or are unaware, Proposition 8 wants to overturn the California Supreme Court’s overturning the previous Proposition 22 from 2000, which banned same-sex marriage in the state by amending the state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.
In the interest of transparency, I have always been against this proposition, and on November 4th, will cast the same vote.
What bothers me in the analysis, is the call for “tolerance.”
I tolerate the old person in front of me in the register at a fast food joint for counting out pennies for her senior coffee.
I tolerate the woman with 3 shopping carts at the 99 Cent Only store ahead of me in the checkout line, arguing with the cashier over obvious things (Why does this receipt say $5.95 for this item? I thought everything here was only 99 cents! (Mind you, she had purchased 6 of the same item)).
1. To allow without prohibiting or opposing; permit.
2. To recognize and respect (the rights, beliefs, or practices of others).
3. To put up with; endure.
a. To answer affirmatively: accept an invitation.
b. To agree to take (a duty or responsibility).
2. To receive (something offered), especially with gladness or approval: accepted a glass of water; accepted their contract.
3. To admit to a group, organization, or place: accepted me as a new member of the club.
a. To regard as proper, usual, or right: Such customs are widely accepted.
b. To regard as true; believe in: Scientists have accepted the new theory.
c. To understand as having a specific meaning.
5. To endure resignedly or patiently: accept one’s fate.
I have excluded medical definitions, although they are interesting in the context of this post.
So people talk about tolerance like its original meaning (from Latin): To bear. Whereas acceptance focuses on its origin: to receive.
Therein lies the difference. Are we only to bear the existence of those who differ from us, or do we receive them into our lives? If everyone is equal, then the choice is obvious.
Unless people are saying what they really mean.
Point After (In the spirit of Football Season)
Gay used to mean happy. Are we so self-loathing and morally bankrupt a people that we seek to demonize and ridicule happiness?
Just a thought.
See? I used to go on all sorts of moral and ethical rants back in the day as well.
I’ll be taking this weekend off to celebrate my anniversary, but don’t worry: I’ll be back on Monday with something that I’ve been meaning to write about: The Teen Center on Bainbridge Island, Washington. And if you absolutely cannot live without my rambling words, feel free to peruse any of the other 98 posts I’ve written since I started this blog.
Thank you for support, and I look forward to your continued readership.
Now go outside, and have some fun, and come back on Monday for my 100th Post (which coincides with the 100th Day I’ve been running this blog).