Guest column: Tolerance of all people is a two-way street _lowres

David Scotton

It’s not very “progressive” to silence and intimidate those with dissenting viewpoints, yet many modern “progressive” leaders are doing just that every time they come across viewpoints that either offend them or that they disagree with.

Promoting tolerance is inherently good, but not when the norms of political correctness silence opposing viewpoints and when modern “progressives” shame individuals who do not conform to their viewpoints. Apparently, there’s a new “right” to not be offended, and one now cannot share his or her beliefs that contradict a modern progressive’s beliefs without being attacked.

For example, an individual is called “homophobic” for disagreeing with gay marriage and called “transphobic” for disagreeing with the practice of changing one’s biological sex. You can still love those individuals as individuals, but as long as one simply disagrees with their personal choices, today’s society automatically equates that to “intolerance.” Second, if you dare to mutter the words “radical Islam” when talking about ISIS, you’re automatically “Islamophobic.” Third, if you accumulate wealth after working hard, saving money and living humbly in one’s community, you’re still labeled as a “greedy one percenter” who should be ashamed of having wealth. And if you disagree with any of the above and simultaneously practice the Christian faith, you’re labeled as a “crazy evangelical” without further discussion.

However, any intentional silencing or intimidation of another seems counterintuitive to a “progressive” agenda. To me, tolerance means loving those with different opinions no matter how much you may disagree. You don’t have to agree with someone in order to love, and instead of listening, understanding and empowering one another, we finger-point, label and avoid pragmatic discussions with anyone we disagree with.

How can we come together as one tolerant nation instead of practicing such divisive tactics? Instead of searching for new ways to be offended, why don’t we search for new ways to come together?

It’s OK to be sensitive to political or social issues, but not OK to tolerate only your own views; this fad is increasingly popular online. Disagreement does not equal hate, but social media hashtags and brutal online posts would tell you otherwise. In today’s social media world, if you even remotely believe in anything other than the modern “progressive” platform and dare to share those beliefs, you’re viciously attacked. You’re simply pressured into silencing your beliefs if they don’t fall in line with “progressive” thinkers.

I am a loving Christian who will always choose to understand and love, but I will continue to accept a life lesson my family taught me: Life is not fair. Life will not be fair if we cannot tolerate dissenting viewpoints and accept that we won’t always agree on everything.

Political correctness is a democratic wrecking ball that silences, and I hope we can one day be a society in which tolerance is not a one-way street but a two-way street.

David J. Scotton, @DavidScotton1, is a 21-year-old political communications major from LSU.