Have you ever noticed those bumper stickers with “COEXIST” represented by various religious symbols? The irony is that there is usually only one person in the car. Could it be those people have a hard time ‘cohabiting’ the same car with others? It may be a lack of deodorant or maybe they are not as tolerant as they want people to think they are.
There is this premise that applies. A tolerant person never has to say they are tolerant, just as an honest person never has to say they are honest. If a person has to declare “I swear to god it’s the truth” after making a statement, ninety-nine chances out of a hundred they just lied. A person who declares they are tolerant of others on a bumper sticker likely refuses to drink with the light beer crowd, thinks Walmart is a discount store for wallpaper, and would freak-out if someone wearing a burka asked for directions to the nearest mosque.
Recently I posted a bumper sticker on my online shop that read, “Why do people who have a COEXIST bumper sticker drive alone?” I did not use the symbols, only the word. That word existed long before “COEXIST” was a catchy new age feel good concept. The company that prints my bumper stickers was contacted by the “COEXIST” people and said that the use of “COEXIST” was a licensing infringement. My company pulled the product. At the threat of a possible law suit. I would have also. Who wants the hassle from those small-minded intolerant do-gooder snobs any way?
Those small-minded intolerant do-gooder snobs have been in a snit with another small-minded intolerant do-gooder snob, Bono. It seems he has used the same word with the religious symbols. There is nothing like two self-proclaimed tolerant-types who can’t tolerate each other’s intolerance ripping at each other’s throat. You did not see Sonny and Cher running to sue Bono.
This proves they are the epitome of intolerance not to mention hypocrisy. If ‘coexistence’ were all that important to them they wouldn’t get in a snit for someone else using it. Their real concern is ‘co-pay’ or ‘commission.’
Frankly, those people who drive around with those bumper stickers are preaching to the choir. Try a bumper sticker like that pasted on your blue Volvo on the streets of Mecca, Baghdad, and Tehran.
This goes back to the premise that often the people who crow the loudest about the intolerance of others are actually the most intolerant themselves. They advocate and even teach that tolerance is good and the only way to live an emotionally and a spiritually healthy life. Tolerance has its limits. Those limits end when one insists on thinking a certain way.
Drawing on my thirty years as a UAW member, they advocated tolerance of races, religion, gender, national backgrounds, and so on. What they did not tolerate is anyone who thought differently. They wanted to control the thinking of its members. At contract time if they said the contact the company offered was good, then the membership was duty-bound to agree. It made no difference what the membership thought and there was to be no dissension. It was even more so if the union proclaimed the contract was bad and the membership thought it was good.
Religions also claim to be tolerant and they prove it by accepting a variety of adherents even if those ones whom they accept do not advocate or practice their tenants. A religion that does that is a religion in trouble. Tolerance has its limits. It ceases becoming a religion when it lowers it standards to allow those who don’t advocate or practice its tenants as full-fledged members. A religion demonstrates its tolerance by not lowering its principles, but by recognizing others’ right of free will and choice. Once a religion becomes so large because of its acceptance of many different backgrounds and ideologies it begins to ostracize those who are not as tolerant as they appear to be. In a sense, it goes back to control. They want to control as many as possible and those not under their control are looked upon with suspicion.
Thus those who have the “COEXIST” on their bumper stickers may some day become an intolerant mob of peasants with pitchforks looking to test out suspected witches at the dunking-chair of public isolation and persecution. The day may come when that bumper sticker might read “COERCE.”