Are we moving toward an America in which only one worldview is socially -- and, God forbid, legally -- acceptable? Are the proponents of "tolerance" truly as intolerant and tyrannical as they seem to be?
It's not just the political and cultural left's increasingly totalitarian mindset in demanding that only its views be permitted that bothers me; it's that more and more people aligned with the left politically, i.e., rank-and-file Democrats, are outright supporting this trend or willingly looking the other way.
This is Barack Obama's America. He has established a climate wherein dissent from his and the left's "values" is reason for ostracism -- and worse. Just a few short years ago, he professed to be opposed to same-sex marriage. Students of Obama's tortured history on this issue and his proclivity for deceit and political opportunism knew he wasn't sincere.
As long as Obama was on the record saying "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman," there was a modicum of protection for those subscribing to that view. But once he came out of the closet on the issue -- so to speak -- it was if he had issued a royal edict forbidding any other view, declaring that anyone who is against it is a bigot and whitewashing his own personal history to pretend that he'd never been guilty of the bigotry he was now so brazenly ascribing to others.
As I was watching this public charade, I often asked whether Obama was also condemning his former self for those very same "bigoted" views. I wondered how his blind admirers could so thoughtlessly accept his judgment of others without questioning his own previously contrary views. Actually, I didn't wonder, because I'd come to expect as much, but I trust you get the point.
But make no mistake; as soon as Obama announced that same-sex marriage is a wonderful idea whose time had come at the precise second he announced his transformation, it was no longer acceptable in Obama's America to believe what Obama had said he believed the second before the announcement.
Prior to the exact fraction of a second that Obama shared his enlightened epiphany with us, there was, to be sure, an ongoing effort by the gay activists and the left in general to marginalize those daring to disagree. Many an employer had sent employees to Siberianesque sensitivity training to get their minds right if they had offended the left with their contrary opinion or by having a Bible at their desk. But Obama's regal decree painting a scarlet letter on traditional values adherents ushered in a new level of public shunning. There would no longer be any pretense of respect or tolerance for the Neanderthals who believe what people have believed for 5,000 years regarding marriage. It would now be open season on them.
But I thought leftists urged open-mindedness, respect for people who disagree and tolerance for all other viewpoints. Yes, they did, but they were never the slightest bit sincere. They not only don't accord dissenters respect but also wish them harm.
Take twin brothers David and Jason Benham. HGTV proudly announced last month in Los Angeles that it had picked up a series featuring the Benhams, to be called "Flip It Forward." "After a decade of flipping houses for profit," said HGTV, "brothers David Benham and Jason Benham now help families buy the homes they never thought they could afford. In each episode, the guys help a deserving family find a fixer-upper and transform it into their forever home -- with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry between the brothers along the way."
But when the group Right Wing Watch reported that the twins are "anti-gay activists," HGTV "decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers' series" as quickly as you can say "traditional marriage."
Never mind how much good these brothers would do for people or how well the show might do. They had committed the unpardonable sins of speaking out against same-sex marriage and engaging in prayer protests. Rumor has it they're even pro-life. Oh, my goodness.
The thought police are just getting warmed up under Police Chief Obama. Consider, for a few examples, the forced resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for his prior support of California's Proposition 8, the discriminatory treatment against Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A, the forcing of companies to cater same-sex marriage celebrations, the cancellation of commencement speeches of conservative luminaries, the "Duck Dynasty" imbroglio, and Obama's trampling on the conscience rights of people of faith.
Does anyone believe that economic tyranny will be the only weapon ever used against the left's political opponents?
If so, you haven't been paying attention. Try the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservatives and Homeland Security's labeling of tea partyers as "domestic terrorists."
What is the left's endgame? For you Democrats who say conservatives are just as bad, I say you're deluding yourselves. We would never advocate the muzzling or selective IRS targeting of political opponents. If such activities were to proceed from the right, we would condemn them outright and demand they be ceased.
The issue isn't whether you agree with same-sex marriage or any other leftist cause. It's whether you believe that everyone is entitled to freedom. Where are the freedom-loving Democrats out there? Isn't it time for you to speak up?
David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of new book Crimes Against Liberty, the definitive chronicle of Barack Obama's devastating term in office so far.