By Richard Peterson
For the first time in my life I saw whooping cranes. There were three of them circling lazily above US 281 about four miles south of Cando on Saturday at about 11 a.m. I was so surprised at seeing them, I neglected to look to see if there were more cranes on the ground.
It’s been pretty busy around here and inspiration has been in short supply, so I’ll reprint an item that appeared in this column 30 years ago:
My little dissertation this week will be on tolerance. It seems there is little tolerance for the beliefs and feelings of minorities these days.
Take me, for instance. I am a member of the smallest minority known to mankind. I am reviled, cursed and spat upon as a dangerous element in our society.
You see, I’m a basketball hater.
For me this is the greatest time of the year. The basketball season is over and I don’t have to listen to the ranting and raving of rabid sports fans. I don’t have to listen to how Leeds should have won this game or how Edmore got cheated out of that game, or what a thriller the game between Starkweather and Esmond was.
Basketball is over. The sun shines again.
See how tolerant of basketball I am? Can’t you be just as tolerant?
One desirable aspect of tolerance is the absence of bigotry. A bigot is one who is blindly attached to an opinion. I hate bigotry. I absolutely despise it and hate it almost as much as I hate violence. As a matter of fact, I’ll kill those dirty bigots.
Webster defines tolerance as the quality of being patient and indulgent toward those whose opinions or practices differ from one’s own. This, of course, leaves out all the Irish.
But there may be some hope for all the Norsks, Germans, Indians — and yes — even the Esmond Russkies.
Most of these nationalities have a certain degree of what social scientists call ‘ethnocentrism." Ethnocentrism is defined as the belief that one’s own group or race is superior. Norwegians don’thold this belief. They can’t.
We should be tolerant and forget about this outmoded concept of ethnocentrism.
I mentioned only the Irish, Norwegians, Germans, Indians and Esmond Russkies because they are the dominant groups in this area. Besides, nobody else matters.
Of course a great aspect of tolerance is in the area of religion. The pilgrims came to this country because they wanted to practice their own religion without persecution. They experienced a great deal of persecution in England, Holland and France and put this experience to good use in ridding their colonies of heretics.
Roger Williams set up Rhode Island as the first colony with complete religious freedom. Today, we here in America have complete religious freedom and religious tolerance is widespread.
And that’s the way it should be. When those who don’t believe the same as I do end up in Hell, it’ll serve ‘em right!
And we need tolerance on the political level. Look at the awful things that are being said against President Carter and Senator Kennedy and Governor Reagan.
The Democrats resorted to any kind of smear possible against Reagan and we all know about the dirty dealings the Republicans pulled against both Carter and Kennedy.
All three are honorable men, perhaps. But listening to the political rhetoric, one would think that each was the devil incarnate. Hmmm, that’s a thought, at that.
But to heal the divisive wounds of America, we must have tolerance in the political arena. We must trust in our elected officials. We must have trust in the American political process.
This, of course, is rather difficult when one realizes what lying dogs the Democrats and Republicans really are. Only those of us who never get involved in any aspect of the political process are really pure at heart. All the rest of them are scoundrels of the highest magnitude.
Yes, we must be tolerant of our fellow man in all aspects of life. We must put aside our petty prejudices and work together for the betterment of mankind.
But human nature being what it is, I doubt that this will ever happen.
You people out there are too dumb and stubborn to reject your prejudices. Why can’t you be tolerant like me?
I’d like to reprint the photo of those farmers from Benson County who went on a trip to Wisconsin in 1916. The trip was organized by Benson County Agent Harry J. Boyts and included a number of stops. We printed it at least once before, but I can’t locate the original. We’ll return the photo undamaged. if someone will loan it to us.