I’m not exactly sure why I’m having no luck at Match.com. I’ve sent over 150 perfectly crafted emails in the last six months. I’ve received six replies. I’ve had two dates. One of them started sobbing in the middle of a restaurant (the power of an arched eyebrow?). Maybe it’s my choice of correspondents, who tend to be 10 years to 15 years my junior. Or my sardonic writing style. Or the firearms references in my profile, including a pic with the caption “Long range shooting is so relaxing. OK, maybe not for the elk . . .” So anyway, I added OKCupid to my nightly trawl. The biggest difference between Match and OKCupid is . . .
OKCupid’s endless series of seemingly random multiple choice questions. You answer the question, they answer the question. When scanning their profile, you get to compare answers. How often do you brush your teeth? Do spelling mistakes bother you? Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce?
Yeah, OKCupid’s queries aren’t all underhand lobs. Which is OK by me. In fact, it’s a revelation. Why not know how a woman feels about her natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, before you swap bodily fluids?
Oh yeah, there’s plenty of that on OKCupid. The “Two of Us” quizzes don’t ask you to name your favorite sexual position(s) or the relative importance of penis size in a sexual relationship, but then again they might. (I’m a newbie.) Sexually speaking, the women aren’t shy about coming forward, as the Brits are wont to say. OKCupid’s sexually forthright essays make Match.com’s profiles seem like tax returns.
But it’s the tough, non-sexual questions that tell me whether to initiate a wild goose chase or hang fire. Here’s a question that made me pull back from a particularly comely lass: should creationism be taught in public schools? I answered that it should be taught along with evolution. She ticked no way, Jose (paraphrasing). Which is how I felt about dating her after reading the reply.
I find that kind of intellectual intolerance un-American. If this country stands for anything, it stands for the freedom of speech. The freedom for each and every individual to believe what they want to believe, and share their beliefs with the world. Our schools should expose our children to as many different points of view as possible.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe in creationism. I find the whole idea silly and unscientific. Science class may not be the best place to share it with the kids. But I respect the right of Christian fundamentalists to believe that God created everything pretty much all at once, and their right to tell others that’s the way life on Earth began.
Yes, there are some truly heinous, dangerous belief systems out there: racist, anti-semitic, homophobic, jihadist and more. Do we want to expose our children to that garbage? Hell yes. How can our children understand the meaning of liberty if they don’t explore its limits? How can we expect them to know how to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the ideas that inform our lives at every turn if they don’t learn what makes a belief worthwhile or worthless?
Gun control advocates exemplify this intolerance. They pledge allegiance to “gun safety” to the point where Mayor Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety attempts to co-opt the term. But they don’t want children exposed to guns or even the idea of guns. How many New York City schools include the NRA’s apolitical Eddie the Eagle gun safety program in its curricula? None. LA? Same answer.
Former Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Prez Paul Helmke’s opposition to the NRA’s Eddie the Eagle gun safety program tells the tale. He quotes the Violence Policy Center’s statement: “The primary goal of the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle program is not to safeguard children, but to protect the interests of the NRA and the firearms industry by making guns more acceptable to children and youth… The hoped-for result is new customers for the industry and new members for the NRA.”
See how that works? Teaching creationism to children promotes religious fundamentalism. Instructing kids about gun safety promotes gun ownership. Heaven forfend! Educators promote diversity as if it’s the next step to divinity, yet they willfully ignore the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects our individual and collective liberty. Which does more to create and protect diversity than a million hours of classroom indoctrination.
Bottom line: I can date an anti-gunner. But she has to be open-minded. If she’s a patriot, if she really, truly shares our Founding Fathers’ love of individual liberty, if she’s willing to engage in free and open debate, there’s hope she can learn to cherish her gun rights. If not, I’ll pass. On the day we celebrate our independence from tyranny, it behooves us all to remember that tolerance does not mean compromise.