Tolerance by definition means; the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.
The word is thrown around a lot in today’s society. Quite frankly, I’m growing weary just hearing it. It’s almost like I’m becoming intolerant of the word.
We are expected to be tolerant of all people even when they do not share our beliefs, that is fine and we perhaps should be tolerant but where do the limits lie? Where is the line drawn? We will eventually arrive at the point where we feel uncomfortable enough and unbalanced enough. And one day when our tolerance crosses into our own sacred values – that’s the day when our limits will become crystal clear.
Let’s examine the functions and comforts of our own home. We frequently invite friends, extended family and/or coworkers into our home. We live in our home, this is where we raise our children, this is where we find comfort, this is where we sleep and take refuge from the rest of the world. It’s our safe place. If we are inviting others into our safe space then we can chose to be tolerant of others who perhaps wear their shoes throughout our home or maybe fail to wash their dinner plate. It leaves more work for us afterward but we evaluate the situation and chose to be tolerant or gracious because these people are our guests. Let’s say our guests begin swearing, in front of our children, something we do not do because it is our strong belief to refrain from corrupting their young minds. Do we remain tolerant? Maybe we ask them to stop swearing and respect our house rules but they continue to do it repeatedly. When do we draw the line from tolerable to intolerable? What if they begin to become violent, do we tolerate them breaking the things we have worked hard to have? I imagine each of us when pushed enough will uphold the line between tolerance vs. personal boundaries. There will always be a point when we say enough is enough and get out of our house, maybe never to invite them again. Was it because we were not tolerant enough – and who’s to gauge what is enough? Or was it because the line we set had been crossed? What if our friends, family or coworkers begin convincing others that we are less than – what if they claim we are intolerant people?
If we analyze a broader picture and think of our home as the world and our friends as immigrants – both legal and illegal, the same message can be applied. We should ask ourselves what level of tolerance is acceptable. When someone enters our country (our home) do we expect that they honor and respect our code of conduct? Do we anticipate they should respect the country we live in and love? Do we tolerate their beliefs more than our own? Do we sacrifice our safety in order to be accommodating? This is our safe space. There must be a line drawn between our level of tolerance and personal beliefs, morals and values. And when we do draw the line how does that ever give anyone the right to claim we were ever intolerant?
Our country was founded by immigrants the diversity has made our culture unique but that uniqueness was always bound together by our shared desire to create and maintain our home. A love for our neighborhoods, towns, farmlands, rivers, lakes, oceans, forests, cities and states has motivated us to passionately, or un-passionately, care about our country and each other.
When the people who are entering our country today are not willing to assimilate or not willing to respect our people, our land, our values, our laws and our safety, we are forced to reevaluate our boundaries.
It is essential for us to have a national leader who is willing to clearly evaluate the current situation from all sides and form a substantive solution in order to protect the country we call home.
Setting boundaries on a national level assumes the same concept as setting boundaries on a personal level. We do so in an effort to protect ourselves from devastating consequences. This cannot define our nation as intolerant, it should only define us as healthy.