Patriot Perspective: Political tolerance promotes respect within the community


Illustration by Stephanie Imbierowicz

The Republican and Democratic parties need to have political tolerance of each other in order to create an open political dialogue where individuals can respect one another, but also learn from each other’s political opinions. Political tolerance is a fundamental component in a democracy.

Members of The Patriot staff sat rapt in attention as we watched our peers and the panelists from “Lessons of the Shoah,” an assembly about the Holocaust and immigration, angrily debate about the 2016 presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. With red faces and angry words, a discussion of political ideologies quickly went south, and the talk transformed from one of an informational nature to one of disrespect.

On Nov. 11, JC hosted “Lessons of the Shoah,” which began as an informative session, but it soon created controversy after a panelist discussion. One speaker mentioned Donald Trump in a negative light, and this led to an intense debate between students and panelists which got slightly out of hand. At the core of this incident was political intolerance.

Every political discussion and debate is the product of multiple parties involved, and it can be easy to get lost within the emotion and passion of your beliefs.

Passionate debates occur throughout classrooms and hallways, and they have created a political atmosphere where intolerance and blatant disrespect for those who have differing political opinions are allowed to run rampant and unchecked.

In an increasingly polarized political system where the political agenda and policies are created not by the moderate majority, but by far-left and far-right politicians, it’s easy to get caught up in the tide of political intolerance.

However, being tolerant is far more beneficial for several reasons. Tolerance encourages open dialogue and conversation in a respectful manner, as well as allowing us to gain greater perspective and insight. By gaining this perspective, we are also able to strengthen our own beliefs.

Political tolerance can be difficult to incorporate into our debates, but it is crucial. It is necessary to create an open political dialogue where individuals can respect one another, but also learn from each other’s political opinions.

Tolerating the views of others allows us to offer them a level of respect for expressing what they believe in. In daily conversations, especially those relating to politics, people often feel judged or disregarded for their opinions when they attempt to share them. Their voices are silenced by hatred and disagreement. Therefore, respecting the views of others engages the speakers in a deeper conversation. This allows for true discussion about politics instead of a heated, close-minded argument.  

Political tolerance also helps us gain a better perspective because it pushes us to learn from others. By understanding what people have to say and what they feel strongly about, the world is better understood. Reasoning for others’ beliefs becomes clear, as does the mutual respect and appreciation for the conversation.

By comprehending and respecting the other person’s opinions, you can also strengthen your own. It is a beneficial situation to respect the person being spoken to, while also using their points to make yours concrete.

By incorporating facts and statistics, and eliminating bias and emotion, your views become far more convincing. Suddenly intense arguments become solid, factual debates, which allow for knowledge to be passed to each individual. For example, “The Lessons of the Shoah” assembly could have been far more influential if the speakers and students remained tolerant.

By respecting each other in order to create a healthy environment and gaining perspective from the words spoken, the JC community would have responded in a far better manner, and the true meaning behind the assembly would have been understood.

Asking for political tolerance does not mean we want you to abandon the views you have or back down to a weaker stance. It means that we want communal respect and understanding for strong beliefs and those they belong to. Words should be received with an open mind, no matter which political party they are spoken from or to.

It can be difficult to respect an idea or belief you vehemently disagree with, but respect is necessary. It requires you to enter a conversation with an open mind and to actually listen to what the other person has to say.

Political tolerance is an easy way to support your own ideas, while not attacking those who do not share the same opinions. It’s pertinent to the development of open communication that makes our community stronger.