My usually open-minded, seemingly tolerant friend Paul disappointed me greatly in his post-discussion interview. With a suspicious and troubling tone, he seems to conclude that perhaps he "shouldn't be friends" with me if I don't share his personal values. Huh?? Perhaps he prefers the "Don't ask, don’t tell" model of the military. Now I'm sure Paul hates the discriminatory practice of this policy as much as I do; but ironically, his primetime example of “snap” judgment, and overall vibe of intolerance, enflames but does not educate; something the Councilmember warns us against. That vibe seeks to shut down differences, not understand them. Gay or straight, reactions like his are what some of the most conservative members of Congress and Pentagon brass use to stoke fear and stifle needed change. I believe the opposite: that we must bravely engage each other, openly discuss the hard issues, learn, and then accept and/or tolerate our differences. I pick my friends based on how they treat me, not how much they agree with me.
It's ironic that while the Housewives are on TV discussing gay rights and equality with our local officials, this week in real time the Senate has just re-squashed efforts to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" legislation. Essentially, it seems that Congress and the military don't want there to be open, honest dialogue about the rights of ALL soldiers. Gay men and women
who put their lives on the line for their country should not have to defend themselves from their country based on fear and ignorance. Discrimination or lack of equality in ANY area of human rights, and certainly in public service, is just plain WRONG!!
As if in surreal slow motion, I watch as the pot boils over with Cat and Erika. Drama at a kids ice cream social—OMG! Although the time and place was inappropriate, I understood where Erika was coming from. You too have witnessed the brash, impolite, sometimes mean comments that Cat has unleashed. And Erika called it on the carpet. I was most surprised by Cat's reaction -- crumbling, crying and involving her kids. I expected the "tough girl with the quick tongue" to tell Erika to "kiss her a---" and keep it moving. I know Erika as a good friend -- and a very direct person with a kind spirit. She’d just had enough. Most of us have had one of those moments when someone took you “there.”
Lessons learned: 1) If you can dish it -- be prepared to take it and 2) tolerance (once again). While there is no excuse for bad behavior, seek FIRST to understand.
Bottom line: LOVE yourself; have the COURAGE to show respect and tolerance for ALL. On this, can we all agree?