Opinion and Forefront

SWAYZE: The high costs of excessive tolerance

January 21, 2012

Sue SwayzeIn this age of respecting diversity and being tolerant, neither Democrats nor Republicans will honestly talk about some topics because they will offend someone. These “losing issues” are, literally, killing us. We need a new way to talk about what we can no longer tolerate and what we need more of: personal responsibility and protection of one’s own children and family.

I’ll go first. I’m intolerant of people addicted to drugs or alcohol holding their families emotionally and financially hostage. They scar their children and partners with devaluing words and deeds and then expect the family to keep secrets. I am tired of watching my friends and their children suffer silently. It takes the whole family down.

I’m also intolerant of men or women abusing their partners and children. We have domestic-violence training, services, counseling, etc., but family violence continues to grow. Don’t tell me that not having a job is an excuse for hitting someone—I don’t buy it anymore. Most of us don’t hit someone when we’re angry.

Regardless of how it has been politicized, abortion is technically the act of killing a human being, often with formed body parts and oftentimes a heartbeat. I can’t show you pictures because that makes me intolerant which, well, I guess I am.

It’s our national shame. Especially since it is the No. 1 cause of death in the black community—they are letting the eugenicist Margaret Sanger win! The irony in this is heartbreaking as we watch abortion clinics strategically placed in black neighborhoods, especially in the South.

I’m also growing intolerant of our young women having babies and going straight to poverty—do not pass Go. Sure, we’ve got fatherhood programs to keep the men involved. But when she has boyfriends in and out and they abuse the kids, exactly who’s speaking out to say, “Stop it!”? I talk to hundreds of women and I see the need for “motherhood programs” … and fast.

I’m also intolerant of teaching sexual tolerance. The majority of AIDS cases are homosexuals and yet some strive to teach our children that it is a healthy lifestyle they can embrace. Teaching this controversial message might also be backfiring on us, however, as all children may be getting a green light to increasingly embrace their sexuality (and the babies that come with it).

Why be “tolerant” when we want so much more for our community? It’s killing our families, our neighborhoods and even bringing down our economy. Indiana spends over $839 million a year in social welfare costs and forgone tax revenue resulting from broken families.

The prison system and the child support office have become the new welfare systems with assistance and family programming. But for abortion, America would have millions more workers to sustain Social Security.

Government isn’t big enough to fix our moral failures or undo the damage done to a child with an alcoholic mother. Yet we pour our tax dollars down the same old funnel while we won’t speak a word of correction or guidance on things that involve morals or values.

Government’s role is worn out and has a gag rule when it comes to values-based behavior. Instead, let’s come alongside our tired community institutions, our underfunded programs and our overloaded caseworkers and offer a refreshing new stance. It isn’t about black or white anymore. Nor is it much about poverty. Or substance abuse. It is about stepping up to take responsibility and make better decisions for ourselves and our children. It’s about stopping generational patterns in families. It’s more than mere funding: It is about teaching and modeling responsibility.

My experience in the community suggests that men and women are thirsty to talk about their needs, their failures and their desire for a better way to “do” life.

Let’s give them a new attitude that doesn’t just give them resources but, rather, challenges them to be responsible and whole, not just tolerant. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place.•

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Swayze leads the Indiana Family Institute’s Hoosier Congressional Policy Leadership Series and has held numerous lobbying positions with not-for-profit organizations. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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