If there could be such thing as an emergency blog… I guess this would be it. There is an advertiser on this blog site which sent me into a tail spin this morning. “Intolerant Canadians” … since the only thing I have no tolerance for is intolerance, I went right in to check this out. The title is intended to be ironic… suggesting we should be intolerant of war, injustice, poverty etc. The discussion board is extensive and carries many very interesting comments. Sadly some of the comments reflect the kind of ignorance that has been traditionally associated with the word “intolerance”. One guy’s attitude toward new Canadians is to assimilate… or go home. If only our Native brothers and sisters had taken a similar attitude when the ships began arriving from Europe, Canada would be a better place right now. Anyway take some time to check it out for yourself. This is the second time a Google Ad has spawned a blog… so I guess they are doing something right.
For me intolerance seems counterproductive. Even if the subject of your intolerance is war, poverty, injustice etc… how does your indignation resolve anything? Intolerance simply polarizes the two sides reducing our ability to influence change in each other. When the US president asked Pierre Trudeau to boycott Cuba, his response was, “you can’t influence someone, you are not talking to.” I have held the same position with my work at the shelter… I do everything I can to keep the lines of communication open. Nothing / No one is all bad or all good. By choosing to focus on the good in ourselves and others we learn to control the bad.
The war in Afghanistan has been a long and terrible tragedy on many levels…. before the war, under a 1,000 children went to school none of them girls. Now tens of thousands of children are learning and almost 40% of them are girls. This is only one of the measurable positive impacts of one war.
I am NOT pro-war; we should totally look for nonviolent solutions to every dispute. I am not in favor of poverty or injustice either and I will always work to end such things. Casting blame or judgment serves no good purpose; whether healing a person, or a nation, or a planet.
During my stay in Edmonton I was standing in line for lunch at the Hope Mission, when a Native man in his 40’s turned around look down at me and growled, “I hate white people… you diddle our children!” All I could do was look into his eyes, shrug apologetically and said, “Sorry ‘bout that…but I wasn't there”. He turned his back to me and that was the end of the discussion. But the next day we were dancing together at the pow-wow and our future encounters were friendly. He probably still hates white people but at least now there is one of us he can tolerate.
I am well over my 400 word count today and this subject is barely touched. Don’t forget to email me with details of your antipoverty and homelessness related projects and events, for the new page. But if the ad for “Intolerant Canadians” shows up it is well worth checking out and feel free to comment.