06/27/2012 06:25 pm ET Updated Aug 26, 2012

Intolerance, The Movie

I didn't play the lead but was recently given a substantial role in an unfortunate story that might have been part of the film quartet in D.W. Griffiths' film, Intolerance. I won't go into details, but I got to witness intolerance in full swing, and it wasn't pretty. The circumstances fit into your basic intolerable scenario: Someone decides that you are not like them (enough) and proceeds to make your life a living hell. Although this someone's ire and The Unbearable Weight of His Ego (the other movie) was not directed at me, it was laser-focused on someone close to me, and it pained me to observe the deleterious ripple effect in action. Everyone within range was affected to one degree or another -- the air quivered pestiferously, and it seemed as if a set designer had settled on a dominant Pantone hue called Off. When you're stuck in a situation that makes you crazy, the options are few. In fact, there are only three:

1. You accept it (or make peace with it).
2. You change it.
3. You walk away from it.

I couldn't wait to get away.

Having the option to walk away is a gift; I recognize this. Like if you're an immigrant, or just look like one, and you live in Arizona. You may not have the means to leave, you can't change the way you look, and you have to accept that you may be harassed, just because. Or, if you're black and happen to be male and wearing a hoodie while in a mixed neighborhood; when hightailing it is impossible, intolerance ruins everything.

And what if you're black and happen to be president of the United States. You can walk away, but let's face it, that would be giving in. So, you accept it for what it is while trying to do your job. In the meantime, those who consistently shoot you down just because you don't look like them take the fun out of everything. (I don't care what political aisle you come from, no sane person can deny that the Republican strategy has been unrelenting obstructionism.)

My recent turn in that movie got me thinking about how intolerance is the culprit behind so many bad, real-world screenplays -- like the one where the U.S. goes resolutely into the night, becoming a third-world country by virtue of the 99 percent to 1 percent ratio, which is quickly becoming this nation's sad economic landscape. Why? Partially because an intolerant few want the right to obscene wealth at the expense of everyone else... But, wait. Just as that thought started to formulate, I felt something pesky elbowing me in the ribs. If you don't see yourself in all, then you don't see yourself at all. Damn. I am guilty of intolerance, too!

Is there a reason you decided to load the dishwasher like this?

My husband doesn't know how to answer this question. And that's probably a good thing because Sarcasm is a relative of Intolerance, whose sister is Scorn, whose brother is Righteousness, whose mother is Indifference, whose father is Hostility. Follow the family tree and eventually we get to Hate. Which brings to mind the late Rodney King, who in his one public moment of greatness, implored us, "Can we all get along?" Apparently, we can't. But hey, maybe we can decide to rewrite the storyline, each one of us, frame by frame.