OK - so I basically come from a liberal background that has fostered my support for a variety of "progressive" causes. As an educated contemporary Reform Jew, I am very much aware that this is a key piece of my identity and activity. To my own surprise, my positions and perspective on issues continues to become increasingly progressive. I find this quite interesting.
Now I have no problem with the idea that there are those who hold differing opinions from mine; as a matter of fact, that is of course what makes life interesting. What baffles me is the level of narrow-minded hatred that often emerges from within the right-wing spectrum (of any issue). As if to say "because YOU hold a different view, I have the right to demean your worth as a human being."
And more recently - at least in my experience - these vitriolic attacks are often propped up by unitelligible (in not outright unintelligent) arguments. Don't get me wrong - I'm not looking to live in a world where everyone agrees with *me*. I would appreciate a greater level of respect and openness in civil discourse - in our society, in our political arena, and in our own communities as well. If we can cultivate an atmosphere in which people truly strive for understanding, while protecting and upholding the inherent dignity of those who with whom we disagree, or find different, or are relegated to being "other", we will go a long way toward fulfilling the obligation for tikkun olam - repairing the ills that face our world
I know this is not a new issue, and I'm certainly aware that there are no quick-fixes to such complex, emotionally charged matters. Yet I maintain the hope that in our own day, we will find ways to make this world better, and not worse, for our having been here.
Any great ideas? PLEASE feel encouraged to share.