By: Chris Moerdyk
Every time I hear one of our politicians calling for the nation to show tolerance I can’t decide whether to laugh my head off or run outside into the street and hurl myself under a bus.
To hear politicians advocating tolerance is both tragic and funny because the entire political agenda all of the political parties, without exception, is to fuel the fire of intolerance.
All of them just cannot take even the most minor criticism on the chin. The slightest slight, the smallest insult, the most subtle jest and they all react as though someone has set fire to their genitals.
Our politicians react badly to everything with which they don’t agree. Not only that, but we have a government that is turning us into as nanny state which is simply legislating intolerance.
The whole Zuma Spear saga is a classic example.
Sure, it’s not nice to be denigrated and insulted. But, that’s not the point. What causes the most damage to the maligned person and the whole nation is the resultant tsunami of media coverage that sweeps round d the world. Yes, there will be those who will side with our president but there will be those who just think it is a laugh.
Ignore it all
In practical terms, public figures and celebrities should follow the example of their counterparts in the USA four example. And just ignore it all.
I do not recall Bill Clinton going to court over a cartoon showing him being toppled off his pedestal by Monica Lewinsky pulling his willy.
That cartoon died virtually at birth. Critics, like bullies, are best put in their place by ignoring them.
The problem in South Africa is that we have all sorts of nanny state laws designed to protect the people but which, in fact, are simply empowering the people to be intolerant.
With politicians threatening to sue their detractors right left and centre they are simply giving the green light to all all South Africans to become intolerant.
Which results in so-called Christian clergymen seriously advocating that an artist be stoned to death.
Which results in Cosatu members physically stoning DA protestors just because they had the temerity to protest against Cosatu in precisely the same way that Cosatu protests against all sorts of things heaven knows how many times a year.
Listen to ourselves
We should just listen to ourselves. On radio talk shows, ordinary people become incensed at the most innocent of remarks. Getting steamed up about the fact that a pack of hot cross buns has a Halaal stamp.
Listen to ourselves playing the race card whenever we can’t think of an intelligent response.
Listen to ourselves at dinner parties and around the family breakfast table. We bitch and moan about everything and anything that does not fall in with what we believe.
Listen to ourselves in our cars.
Listen to ourselves when our sports teams don’t win.
I believe that before politicians get on their high horses and start firing off invective they should think for a second about whether they are promoting or advocating intolerance.
Right now, South African society must be among the most intolerant on earth. Our intolerance kills people on our roads. Our intolerance is generating massive social anger.
The responsibility for our chronic level of intolerance can be laid squarely on the shoulders of our politicians who need to go back and read up on what democracy is all about. What freedom of expression is all about.
And most of all look up in the dictionary what the word intolerance really means.