A Tradition of Tolerance

What is it that makes America one of the most tolerant countries in the world? There will be some who disagree with the premise. I encourage them to travel more and consume international news.

This tolerance in the United States began with the founding. Freedom of speech, assembly, and religion are the foundation. They scream tolerance. The free flow of ideas and the ability to gather to pursue ideas or protest them is a cultural attribute. It has made our culture more open minded and accepting of new ideas. This has been key to innovation. We have all benefited.

“Where as Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness…”

These first few lines of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom aptly describe our current state. The statute itself, written in 1777 and passed into law in 1786, is evidence of the long history of tolerance. The thriving Jewish population in 19th century Charleston, South Carolina is further evidence of tolerance. During the first few decades of the 19th century, the Charleston Jewish population was the largest and most prosperous Jewish community in the United States.

In the middle of the 19th century, the vast majority of Americans thought the United States was a country for white men. The journey from the end of the Civil War to today was only possible because of the tolerance contained in our founding principles. If there is a national tradition it is one of tolerance.

The journey has been difficult for some, and many have sacrificed much. Some who have benefited most from the sacrifices of the past believe they are owed something from the rest of us today. They have identified historic bogymen to be erased. They are ungrateful for and intolerant of the principles that have got us this far. They would destroy a memorial in a cemetery to get their revenge.



Career consultant turned substitute teacher and writer. I enjoy the outdoors and poker. www.trudgetotruth.com

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