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Newt Gingrich, Michael Sam, and the Myth of Tolerating Intolerance

Newt Gingrich believes gays should do a better job of tolerating those who are intolerant towards them. It sounds good in theory, but is ridiculous once you apply real life analogies.
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After labeling Michael Sam's live kiss on ESPN 'disgusting', Newt Gingrich told a panel of hosts on CNN’s Crossfire last weekthat gays should be more tolerant of those who are intolerant towards them.

Discussing a tweet from former NFL player Derrick Ward who condemned the kiss and then received death threats over it, Gingrich said: “You guys talk about how you want to be inclusive, except of course if somebody tweets this, then they get a death threat, then you send them off to sensitivity training...That's repression, that's not inclusive".

Jamal Anderson, a former football player also on the panel asked, “Is it repression to try to teach them to be understanding and open to people, especially when you talk about people they have not been exposed to?” 

Gingrich replied, “Shouldn’t you also be teaching people who are gay to be open and understanding of people?”

Check out the clip here:

It's sort of an interesting, philosophical concept Gingrich brings up: should we be tolerant to those with intolerant views?

Except it isn't when you insert a different subject into the conundrum.

What if the topic had been interracial marriage? Had a black man kissed his white wife on live television and provoked outrage amongst ardent supporters of same-race marriage, would Gingrich be going to bat for the Derrick Wards of racial intolerance?

Probably not.

The analogy won't make much sense to millions of Americans who don't view themselves as being intolerant, even though they don't tolerate gay marriage or overt displays of homosexuality. However, rewind the clock 47 years when  the 1967 Supreme Court decision finally deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, the analogy doesn't look so silly.

In years to come, we will view gay marriage in much the same way. As archaic religious notions of what marriage is and isn't get pushed further and further to the fringes of society, the marriage between two people of the same sex who love each other will be as routine as meeting someone with a Filipino father and a French mother. Not the norm, but nothing particularly exciting.

If you accept this logic, the concept of 'tolerating intolerance' towards homosexuals becomes completely ridiculous. In America, you are guaranteed unalienable rights as put forth by the constitution. You are equal, free to say what you want, free to practice whatever religion you believe in, and have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Marrying someone of the same gender doesn't hurt anyone, doesn't stop  heterosexual marriage from happening and doesn't 'encourage people to be gay'. There is nothing wrong with being gay, just as there is nothing wrong with being black, and anyone who thinks otherwise is genuinely ignorant.

Intolerance towards ethnic minorities isn't accepted for a reason - it is a direct affront to their rights as equal citizens. If we are to take take the constitution at all seriously, intolerance cannot be tolerated. And if Newt Gingrich genuinely believes tolerance should be shown to those who hate gays, who would deny fellow citizens the same constitutional rights he enjoys, he isn't the patriotic American he believes himself to be.

Whether he understands this or not, Gingrich is no better than those who believed interracial marriage was immoral before laws banning it wer correctly made unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

It's a hard pill to swallow, but that is what progress, and tolerance is all about.