As we slip aimlessly into 2023, there will be all kinds of New-Year resolutions made, kept, but mostly broken within the first few weeks. However, an easy one to keep is simple. To be more tolerant of others, their beliefs and opinions.
As long as it doesn’t affect you, why should we be so concerned about someone else’s views on any given subject. However, if Brexit, the pandemic and the rise and fall of Donald Trump has taught us one thing, it’s that we are a very divisive bunch, us humans.
A prime example of this divisiveness has been the pandemic and the strongly held views of some about its handling and the use of vaccination. Now this is not an article knocking conspiracy theorists; it’s a message from the heart for everyone to be just a bit kinder to each other.
The problem is that we all have that ingrained belief that we are the best informed and cleverest person in the room.
In an increasingly divisive society, the aforementioned arrival of a certain Mr. Trump as president of the US, followed by the Covid crisis, conditions were set for a perfect political, societal storm.
If you ask a deeply religious person to justify the death of a child from cancer or the deaths of hundreds of people in a natural disaster, the mantra is usually “it’s the will of God.” Similarly, if you ask a conspiracy theorist about the US general election, scientific evidence or death figures during the Covid crisis, the mantra is usually “it’s all fake news.” There is just no arguing in either case. It’s a lost cause.
So, shouldn’t we treat the conspiracy theorists with the same respect and tolerance we reserve for the religious communities?
Of course, it has to swing both ways. A normally very nice English chap recently referred to me as a “stupid f**king vaxxer”. I tried to explain that due to my heart condition I’d decided to take the advice of my cardiologist rather than that given in the video by David Icke which he had referred me to before going for my Covid jab.
Whilst I was rather surprised by the venom with which he delivered his verdict on my decision, I could also see in his eyes that there was absolutely no way we could discuss my decision in a civil manner. I may as well have been trying to tell a local vicar that God doesn’t exist.
However, there was one part of his description of me that was not only correct, but spawned this article… “stupid.” I don’t have a degree in medicine, I’m not a statistician and my knowledge of science could be written on a postage stamp. But I do think I’m a reasonably logical person.
For example, my friend in the UK and his wife decided not to get their kids vaccinated against anything. They felt the risk was too great, yet they are happy to strap all three kids into the back of their Ford and drive down the M4 in the pouring rain to go shopping in Bristol. To me, the drive would put the kids at more risk than the Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) vaccine, mainly because, according to the UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, after cancer, accidents are the biggest killer of our children.
As previously stated, I’m not the brightest of chaps, so my friend may well be correct in seeing no risk in high-speed travel in wet weather, but see extreme risk in the MMR.
I would never mention this to my mate, as it would only start him on a rant and while I would be convinced that my logical approach was right, he would be equally convinced of his position.
No-one wins. And besides he’s a really good lad, so what’s the point in falling out over what is really nothing more than a difference of opinion over life choices.
So remember, in 2023, be tolerant of peoples beliefs and opinions, even if they are far removed from your own… just be kind.