Time to end tolerance

Letters to the Portland Editor, December 11, 2009
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  December 9, 2009

I'd like you to think about something. Ever seen the bumper sticker: "Intolerance will not be tolerated"? You have to think about that for a moment to truly appreciate its wit. It's kind of like the parent who yells at the top of his or her voice, "You kids stop yelling!"

Intolerance will not be tolerated.

I suppose we all have things we won't or can't tolerate. For me, it's not intolerance — it's tolerance that I can't tolerate.

Let me explain. I don't know exactly where or how it began, but in the past few years it's become acceptable when referring to same-sex couples, or the queer community in general, to say things like: "I don't believe in same-sex marriage, but I believe we should be tolerant." Even President Obama and Vice-President Biden have stated this opinion on several occasions. Tolerant? I gotta tell you, I cannot tolerate their tolerance. What kind of message is that kind of tolerance anyway? "We don't like what you're doing. We don't believe it's normal, but we'll tolerate your abnormal behavior because we're just that good." Well, isn't that just big of them?

I will not tolerate their tolerance! Accept me as a full and equal citizen of the United States, yes! But tolerate me? No. That suggests that I'm less. That I don't measure up somehow. How would you like to wake up every morning and know that at best you are tolerated among the people you live with? Tolerance? Gays and lesbians have tolerated the prejudice, fears, and hateful actions of societies for far too long. We've tolerated stereotypes in TV and movies. We've tolerated horrific jokes and discrimination in almost every area of our lives. We've tolerated heterosexual couples enjoying special rights. Tolerance?

Enough is enough. To those who say they tolerate our lifestyle, I say I will no longer tolerate your tolerance. Accept me as a free and equal citizen of the United States, or be honest in your discrimination. But do not hide behind the current wave of tolerance.

Your tolerance will not be tolerated. Thanks for thinking.

Chris Newcomb
Portland

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