Some Thoughts on Tolerance



Some people seem confused about what, exactly, tolerance is. Stacey Campfield, for instance, says "I just figured this is just another example of the open-minded tolerant left. They claim tolerances for divergent points of view. ... Until someone actually has one. Then they don't know how to handle it."

But Stacey Campfield doesn't just have a point of view. This isn't like your Republican uncle (or hell, mine) who has a big heart and a signed photograph of George and Laura Bush in the hall. I tolerate that my Republican uncle thinks Obama is the worst president ever, and he tolerates that I'm "probably a communist." He'd still give his left arm for me and I'd give my right for him.

Stacey Campfield has been repeatedly acting on his point of view to the detriment of a lot of Tennesseans. As Sean Braisted says:

Stacey Campfield, who I've met, talked to, and actually kind of like as a human being, is a person of power in this state who has used said power to promote discrimination, misinformation and outright hatred towards his constituents and other Tennesseans. Knoxvillians who wish to eat out have a whole host of different options from which to choose. But Tennesseans who want equal representation and rights have only one legislature to look to. While there are many representatives, theirs, Stacey Campfield, has made it a mission in his life to make life harder for those who don't fit his own personal view of 'normal.'

And Braisted also directly addresses this notion that this whole restaurant issue was somehow a result of intolerance for Campfield's ideas:

Stacey Campfield was not denied service because of his ideas, he was denied service because of his actions. Such as, going on a radio show and saying that AIDS is the result of people getting it on with monkeys. Or actions such as sponsoring the "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would prohibit teachers from allowing the word, or concept, of homosexuality to leave their lips.

Exactly. If someone is actively seeking to harm you, your loved ones, or your friends, you aren't under any moral or legal obligation to let him patronize your business in the name of "tolerance." That's ridiculous. Should I "tolerate" a thief in my home just because he has different ideas about who should have possession of my things than I do?

Anyway, Campfield is now draping himself in the mantle of the civil rights movement.

In the '60s my grandfather sat at the lunch counters with the blacks in Knoxville to help break up the segregation of the races. I guess some people still support segregation. Just segregation of thought. Some people have told me my civil rights were violated under the 1964 civil rights act in that a person can not be denied service based on their religious beliefs. (I am catholic and the catholic church does not support the act of homosexuality) I had not thought about that much.

I'm sure his grandfather was very proud, then, when Campfield gave this interview to WBIR and said that people from Africa aren't "regular people." Well, maybe not proud. But perhaps tolerant.

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