The promotion of intolerance, as if it is a moral philosophy imbedded in our constitutional principles, should be unsettling, if not belittling, to us all. Founded as a nation tolerant of cultural diversity, and accommodating to oppressed peoples, America became the beacon of hope for millions fleeing genocidal and tyrannical leaders around the globe. Today, many fleeing wars, political and/or economic oppression, continue to seek refuge and opportunities within our borders. In the continuous arrival of immigrants seeking opportunities, asylum, or freedom, our nation became a sanctuary for a constellation of distinct social-cultural groups.
Today, ideologues and demagogues craving fame, recognition, or political office, advocate intolerance and indifference for the very social-cultural plurality that served as testimony to our national tolerance and fortitude. Facilitated by the power and influence of self-serving economic elites, and their political robotic and propagandist surrogates, intolerance finds expression in nationalistic slogans, identities and convictions that penetrate the psyche of believers – primarily those insisting on a one dimensional politico-religiosity. Through such advancement of intolerance, fear, suspicion, mistrust and hostility take roots, creating discord and disharmony in the social fabric of our nation’s cultural diversity.
Left unchallenged, or without resistance, intolerance could gradually, and incrementally, find expression in the minds and convictions of individuals and groups searching for excuses to displace their anger and hostility toward others, who they view as different from them. As increasingly evidenced, subscription to a different faith relegates sectors of the population as objects of suspicion and ridicule. Paradoxically, no faith or singular religion has a monopoly on access to the Devine.
Unless some claim ignorance, or chose not to recall, it should be emphasized that America’s greatness as a nation is grounded in its tolerance and accommodation for social-cultural-religious diversity. And today’s frequently expressed demagogic slogans of divisiveness and blame casting, threaten the nation’s history and constitutional commitment to upholding its tolerance in an era of increasing diversity. Regrettably, some in power utilize their political positions as bully pulpits to promote relations of distrust and disharmony under the guise of preserving national interest. Could it be that they have secretly pledged allegiance to fostering divisibility and ostracism based on socio-religious convictions in efforts to remain in power?
In our complex multicultural society, the subscription and commitment to a common national identity would be destroyed through intolerance and the erection of physical barriers of separation. Seemingly oblivious to some, neither intolerance, nor physical barriers, serve to facilitate or guarantee national unity. And, to think that such behaviors and actions serve to promote national solidarity is indeed flawed and absentminded.
By adherence to our constitutional principles of accommodation, the fostering of tolerance among our citizenry, and the promotion of shared commitment to our democracy, subscription to our common national identity would be preserved. Let us not forget that even though we live in a nation grounded in, and governed through codes of legal constitutional legitimacy, it is not uncommon for the lawless to think and act as if they are above the law.
Hence, it is perhaps necessary to be mindful that the subscription and commitment to our common national identity cannot be sustained through the tyranny of intolerance. For, in this age of instant messaging, nation states have no geo-communicational boundaries. The tyranny of intolerance will most certainly ignite and energize immediate resistance through the multifaceted paths of omnipresent electronic transmissions.