Intolerant, you say? Well, we were frightened. Naturally, we began to act like most everybody does when afraid. After all, isn’t fear the true basis of intolerance? Yes, we were intolerant. (The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 140)

Bigotry from fear.
Ku Klux Klan trembling
from inherent suspicion
of quality, of merit, of worth.
Holocaust emblematic
of bravado, of hatred
fearing merit, industriousness,
chutzpah. Bullies, homophobes,
chauvinists, panphobics
quiver in terror that others
may discern insecurity
disguised as dominance.

I know fear, know the instinct
to cringe, to bluster, to pretend
to know, fake confidence.
I know fear and have learned
to act anyway, to examine
the sensation, ask removal
and knowledge of who
I am to be. I will not tolerate
being imprisoned by fear.

Slender Steps to Sanity