Tolerance is Now a One-Way Street

Debate.  According to my dictionary, it means to deliberate, consider, to engage in argument by discussing opposing points, to engage in a formal discussion or argument.

Bottom line.  There has to be opposing viewpoints in order to have a debate otherwise you have a one-sided conversation.

Well, apparently, officials in the Shawano School District is Wisconsin don’t seem to understand this simple concept.

Fifteen-year old Brandon Wegner was asked to write an op-ed piece for the school newspaper, “The Hawk’s Post,” about whether homosexuals should be allowed to adopt. He wrote the opposition; Maddie Marquardt wrote the piece in favor.  You can click here to read both articles.

Well, after the op-ed was published, Brandon was allegedly censored, threatened with suspension and called ignorant by the superintendent of the School District, according to an attorney representing the child.  A statement by the superintendent read, “Offensive articles cultivating a negative environment of disrespect are not appropriate or condoned by the Shawano School District.  We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended and are taking steps to prevent items of this nature from happening in the future.”

Any controversial topic will invite a heated discussion.  So, I guess, what the superintendent is saying is that he will make sure that no topic of significant value is ever debated again.  I guess he’ll try and limit debate in “The Hawk’s Post” to topics like, “Which Do You Prefer, Snickers or Milky Ways?”  “Coke or Pepsi?” or “Should the Cafeteria Be Painted?”  How about, “Green or blue decorations for the Prom?”  On second thought, let’s leave that one out because it may raise the ire of Irish folks and Smurfs.

The problem started when a homosexual couple, whose child attended the high school, complained.  The school immediately issued an apology and stated Brandon’s opinion was a “form of bullying and disrespect.”

Now, I don’t really care what anyone’s opinion is about homosexuals adopting children.  That’s not the issue.  The issue is that Brandon was invited to write an op-ed piece.  Maddie wrote a piece in support of homosexual adoptions and Brandon wrote the opposition.  That’s why it’s called a debate.

The superintendent’s intolerance reminded me of Saturday Night Live’s glory days when it did the Point/Counterpoint with Jane Curtin and Dan Akroyd.  Jane would start out with, “Dan, you self-important pig…” and Dan would continue with “Jane, you magnificently ignorant slut…” and then each went on with their opinion.

Every issue will have at least two sides and if you don’t want to hear an opposing viewpoint, then don’t invite a dialogue.

According to Brandon’s attorney, “The superintendent wants everyone to accept homosexuality as normative and homosexual adoption as something that should be standard practices.  In doing so, he’s belittling the views and the biblical views of many people across this country.  He is playing a zero-sum game.  He’s not interested in dialogue.  He wants to cram his view down the throat of everyone else and will not tolerate an opposing viewpoint.”

Whether you agree with Brandon’s position is not the issue.  He was asked by a teacher to take the opposing view of a controversial issue.  He did what he was asked to do and is then punished?  Where’s this kid’s First Amendment rights?  How is this bullying?  How is this disrespectful?

Years ago, a very dear friend of mine said, “opinions are like ass*&#@s; everyone has one; no one wants another one.”  The older I get, the wiser those words become.

Brandon will either be emboldened from this experience and hone his debating skills or will shrink away and never venture to offer his opinion again.  I hope he chooses the former.  In today’s college environment, he’ll need to have a very strong core belief system in order to survive the liberal groupthink mentality.

In today’s politically correct world, it’s perfectly okay for Samuel L. Jackson to say he voted for President Obama because he’s black yet not be called a racist;  but I’m a racist because I didn’t vote for President Obama based on his policies.

I’m a homophobe because I oppose homosexual marriage.

I’m a racist because I oppose unfettered illegal immigration.

I’m old-fashioned (or worse) because I believe children should not be born out of wedlock.

I’m a racist because I support many of the ideas of the Tea Party movement.

I’m sexist because I’m pro-life.

I’m a racist because I think the TSA should be profiling people at the airport and not hassling grandmothers in wheelchairs and looking in babies’ diapers.

I’ve got a neurological disorder (according to some people) because I believe in God.

Brandon has learned a very good lesson.   Where our educational system was once considered a place for the free flow of ideas and viewpoints, it has now become, with every story I read, the “epitome of intolerance.”

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • Dennis Carstens

    Okay, so once again those self appointed pillars of tolerance have shown us that they are truly tolerant of everyone that agrees with them. Why hasn’t this superintendent/bigot been fired? Another example of why I have become so anti-liberal. They have become such silly, childish non-thinkers. It is all feel good emotionalism and no rational thinking is ever allowed.

  • cmacrider

    Leona:
    An excellent exposure of liberal idiocy.

    Since the Left always claims an intellectualism far and above that held by the Right, I often wondered why they cannot see the fallibleness of their idea of tolerance. If “toleration” means moral relativism, moral equivalence, and cultural relativity, on what basis can they make any claim to moral indignation on any topic. Surely they are bright enough to see that the liberal concept of toleration ultimately ends up being nihilism.

  • Roger Ward

    You can always count on the PC police showing their ugly faces …. and you can always bet that they will make their appearance in academia. My niece is looking at and choosing a college now; unfortunately, she just doesn’t understand the PC groupthink that she’s getting into.

  • robin in fl

    oh yes..the good ol’ debate thing by todays standards….hahaha..that in itself is a joke.

    most people now a days on the left or the right tend to think people who not believe just as they do are some how inferior as humans…go figure!

    if a person lives in a mobile home they are “trailer’ trash” ( or people assume that.)

    if a person has guns(because it is their right and they are NOT a felon) ,they must be a redneck or militia person…

    if a person has more then one pet,they must be an animal hoarder or collector ,even they have done that for MANY years before rescuing was a ‘trendy’ term..

    the list can go on and on.

    yes now a days people want to hear others opinions about things so they can assume what they want and tell people how wrong they are or how ignorant they are for thinking as they do…

    seems as if everyone is doing that these days..but I think I’ll just opt out of those discussions . my patience with people now a days telling me how I must think,feel.act and what to say and believe in ,has grown oh SO thin.!!!!..just ask me the question and then answer it for me,after all,why would I even need to use my own brain and original thought if so many others already know what is right!!!!

  • DOOM161

    Here’s how the left defines free speech: You’re allowed to say whatever you want, as long as you agree with them.

    I wasn’t a racist when I didn’t vote for Allan Keyes, and I wasn’t a sexist when I didn’t vote for Elizabeth Dole. In 2008 I was both because I didn’t vote for Obama or Hillary Clinton.

  • Michael

    I really think we’re headed for a culture war, and I don’t mean a war of rhetoric.

    The government is telling us what to think, what to believe, what to say, what not to say, which groups are desirable, which groups are undesirable, which groups get special treatment and that the rest of us have to pay for that treatment, and they continue to try to tell us we don’t have a right to own the tools (guns) to defend ourselves and our families.

    It’s just a matter of time until it comes to a head.

  • Terry Walbert

    The problem is that you have uneducated people, like the superintendent, trying to educate young people.

    I’m probably a homophobe because I would tell the superintendant to stick it up his arse.

  • Ron F

    I am not sure that any side of political debate is tolerant of the other side’s views today. Wasn’t there recently a best seller book, “Shut Up and Sing”. I also do not believe high schools were ever considered a place for the free flow of ideas and viewpoints. I think colleges were but not high schools and colleges for years now have discouraged unpopular viewpoints. In this case, the Superintendant has denied making any threatening or derrogatory comments to Brandon Wegner. In addition, the Superintendant did not pull just the Brandon Wegner’s piece from the paper, he pulled both pieces. The only litigation that has been threatened has been by Brandon Wegner’s attorney for censorship. The Superintendant also said that as a result of the backlash against his actions, school staff has received threats. Nevertheless, it was the school that invited the students to express opposing viewpoints on a controversial subject. Therefore, to pull both pieces after the fact because the Superintendant disagreed with one of the viewpoints and found it offensive, is cowardly and idiotic. No explanation now can possibly justify what he did.

  • Glen Stambaugh

    The unpopular view is always the courageous one. It’s also the view that comes with all that hostile blowback. I will try to remember that whenever someone offers an unpopular view with which I disagree.

  • Rick Johnson

    In far too many school districts across the US, this in the norm. That superintendent is quite frankly a coward. He took the safe road, as you stated, of groupthink.