I am not afraid.
Not afraid of people whose skin color is different than mine. Not afraid of people who speak a different language than I do. Not afraid of people whose sexual orientation is different than mine because I realize it’s not a choice. Not afraid of people who worship God differently than I do or not at all. Not afraid of people who celebrate holidays different than I do. Not afraid to believe that all work can be honorable, whether it is the server in a restaurant to the executive in a well-known corporation. Not afraid to believe that people who need help should get it and there is no disgrace in admitting you need help.
As imperfect as I am, there are things that I can be intolerant of. Here is what I do believe. I am intolerant of willful ignorance. I can understand “not knowing,” but I cannot understand not wanting to know. I do believe we are entitled to our opinions, but I do not believe (as Sen. Daniel Moynihan has said) we are entitled to our own set of facts. I do believe that we can argue tooth and nail for our positions on public issues, but I do not believe those arguments include personal attacks against our opponents. I believe that even though we may hold divergent opinions, the person holding those opinions is not evil.
I don’t understand the belief that only poor people “game the system” but corporations who do the same are tolerated. I believe religions have a role to play in our culture, but I do not believe religious leaders should try to control the laws that are a part of that culture. I believe Anne Frank is right: “In spite of everything, people are really good at heart.”
Mike Farenell, Glens Falls