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The Whiteboard Jungle: Intolerance is not acceptable no matter the situation

When a driver cuts you off in traffic, the devil inside you wants to catch up with that discourteous motorist and cut in front of him — tit for tat. One of those, “There, how do you like it?”

While this might feel good for about a second, what does this behavior say about the so-called good driver?

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This is how I view the recent spate of people ambushing Trump administration officials while they are out in public as private citizens with their families.

Last week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was refused service at a restaurant. And Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had protesters interrupt her meal at another restaurant; some shouted outside her home.

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These incidents bring a smile to those opposed to President Trump’s administration and its heartless policies. However, they are trading a pound of incivility for an ounce of revenge.

Is that the best way to respond to someone whose views we don’t agree with, berating them as they eat out or yelling at them where they live?

I wouldn’t want someone who disagreed with my views harassing me as I shopped at a market. It’s like the fans in a sports arena interfering with play on the field. That’s a red line never to be crossed.

In a speech to supporters, Rep. Maxine Waters advocated for more below-the-belt tactics.

“If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station ... you push back on them [that they] are not welcome anywhere.”

Opposed to that strategy, political commentator David Axelrod said on CNN that “a race to the bottom in terms of civility in our politics is [not] the way to go.”

You end up making those who you revile sympathetic, the opposite of what was intended. Watching a cellphone video of an adult screaming “Shame on you” makes these Trump employees appear as victims.

Turning away Sanders resurrects ugly memories of America’s past when African Americans were refused service at restaurants.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama said it succinctly at the 2016 Democratic National Convention: “When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.” It used to be the American way.

Intolerance of those who are different — be they of another ethnicity, religion or political persuasion — counteracts values in our country that this upcoming Fourth of July is supposed to celebrate.

Every citizen is entitled to an opinion. And every citizen is entitled to privacy.

Send emails. Write letters. Make phone calls. March outside the White House and federal buildings. Vote your opponents out.

But getting in people’s faces is boorish behavior, the type anti-Trumpers accuse the president of exhibiting.

It’s troubling when our emotions rule our intellect.

Four centuries ago, Shakespeare wrote a poignant speech for his Jewish character Shylock, who is victimized by Christians in “The Merchant of Venice.”

“Hath not a Jew eyes ... hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?”

Now, reread the same passage only this time replace “Jew” with “Republican” or “Democrat” or any other kind of people for whom you harbor ill will.

Tolerance for those unlike us embodies the soul of this democracy.

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