On Statements of Tolerance and Bullshit... or is that repetitive?

When I was growing up they used to quote some historical hypocrite to show us just how wonderful America is (and it is, BUT) to show us how much MORE wonderful America is than any other/ EVERY  second-rate piece-of-crap country in the world.
He'd said:
"I may not agree with what you said, but I will defend -- with my life, if need be  -- your right to say it."*
What a steaming pile of pompous self-serving crap.And not even true, even way back then.
Ralph Waldo Emerson observed ... waaay back then:
   "The only sin we never forgive each other is difference of opinion."
 Sure as hell not true today when people who speak their minds -- even about the quality of a movie or restaurant -- can receive death threats.

 The great social philosopher, the late Howard Gossage -- a man with a habit of actually observing what's going on and stating the facts as he saw them, once said to me while in his instructive mode:

"Tolerance means 'You stink but I don't mind holding my nose.' Well, b-b-buddy, I DO mind holding my nose."

In a society still dominated by various people's ideas of who is actually American, who has a right to live here and who doesn't, a society where it took more than three years until someone of media courage actually suggested that the fact of the color of the president's skin MIGHT just have something to do with the obsessively virulent hatred of him, and since -- in practice -- NO ONE defends anyone's right to say something, even less anyone's right to not have to LISTEN TO ** the effluent crap that comes pouring out of the mouths of rubes, a properly pretentious and idealistic fellow might say:

"I may not live the way you do but I would like to believe that I actually would defend -- with my life if need be -- your right to be who you are... if you'd only shut the fuck up about it."  

Have to modify it since you never really know until the situation arises.
*Yeah, yeah I know -- it was Voltaire who said it about defending the right for someone to say something -- at least I know it since Dick Lupoff took the time to tell me. And certainly Voltaire had the motivation to stand up for people's right to say whatever, having landed in the joint (The Bastille) and getting one month short of a solid year for smartassing Phillippe II (The Regent) in print.

** Some years ago, I was in Berkeley, had a bad day, went to Moe's books to find something to clater my viewpoint, cheer myself up ... couldn't get interested in anything and was coming out of the bookstore on Telegraph Avenue in a worse mood than when I'd gone in, when a sidewalk evangelist grabbed my jacket and began to lecture me on his version of moonlight... when I tried to pull away, he got mean, talking how I hate God and hellfire would await me and etc... and it was the wrong day for ANYONE to try to sell me ANYTHING ... so I let go (didn't "lose it" just decided to let it fly) and said:

"Listen -- I didn't live my life waiting for some sociopath in a cheap suit to threaten me with eternal punishment because I don't like being grabbed ... and I don't hate God -- I don't even know if there is one -- but I really REALLY dislike YOU, so just fuck off, you and the Holy Ghost you rode in one."

AND -- ok, immodest of me to mention, but I remember the moment so clearly because it so satisfied my ego needs --  I GOT APPLAUSE --- CHEERS AND APPLAUSE -- from the dozen or so people on the street -- street people who were hanging out and shoppers walking by. And I can tell you, having a dozen people cheer and applaud you for throwing down on someone who pissed you off .. .can really cheer up a foul mood.



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