I only recently started engaging in the MyNews24 section, and I don't know which is worse: the hate crimes on the main news page, or the hate-filled comments to the opinion blogs here.
I want to propose a New Year's pledge for those who will adopt it, which I want to take as well: a pledge of tolerance.
A pledge to:
1: Not rush to cold-hearted judgements before all the facts are clear ... which they never will be, because life is too complex.
2: Remain empathetic, because we will never understand all the emotions in anybody's heart.
3: Remember that anger attracts only anger, and that calm responses are likelier to defuse a situation.
4: Acknowledge that the purpose of debating here is not to "win" debates or appear the smartest online. We're all idiots to somebody, and the biggest issues are never going to be resolved in concrete terms.
I'm not going to find some cliched quote to back me up. I don't need to. I am a South African, and I want to appeal all of you to join me in constructive debate, finding solutions to problems where we can, and accepting that "truth" is a relative concept which is shaded by different people's experiences.
I haven't lived according to all of the above points, even in my posts here...I'll be the first to admit that. I've tried to be reasonably open-minded and only responded angrily when provoked through pig-headedness, for which I have a low tolerance. However, 2012 is a new year, and let's see if we can live it under a banner of tolerance.
This is NOT a call to abandon intellectual disagreement. But if we can stop celebrating in other people's mistakes, stop howling in glee over the murder of our fellow citizens, stop belittling others' religious beliefs by mocking them and start encouraging people to express viewpoints which clash with ours we'll have a great 2012.