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Positive Signs Out of Utah

dissent4.jpg

"The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with."
- Eleanor Holmes Norton

Recently I linked to a Salt Lake Tribune editorial which called for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign, and I expressed some degree of surprise at the fact that this was coming out of Utah, which in the 2004 Presidential election voted for President Bush with a 3:1 ratio - the strongest plurality of votes President Bush received amongst all the 50 states.

To illustrate just how conservative people are in this state the city Provo, which is the seat of ultra-conservative Utah County, was named the most conservative city in the United States by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research a few years back. Democrat John Kerry garnered just 11 percent of the vote in Utah County in 2004.

So the reports yesterday of protests against VP Cheney at BYU, the LDS Church-owned university located in Salt lake City, are of interest -- and may be what I believe is a sign of more things to come.

Not surprisingly, the anti-Cheney protesters on the street outside of the entrance to the University were treated to raised middle fingers and admonitions of "I'll be praying for you!" from the passing motorists. Dissent breeds... dissent, and while some may disagree, I personally feel any non-violent dialog, even one punctuated by raised voices and erect middle fingers, is healthy.

Leading into the landmark November 2006 election I noticed a trend among young voters (under 25) moving over to the blue side -- a shift that proved to be an important factor in the outcome of the election. I think we'll be seeing a lot more open, vocal dissent leading into the 2008 Presidential elections, with young Americans leading the way.

Huzzah! brave protesters at BYU, huzzah! May your example light a fire across America, and inspire people on both sides of the aisle to speak up and speak out about what is wrong about America today, and what we need to do to make it right again.



(graphic: Project for the Old American Century)


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Comments (17)

Heralder:

Lee:

Huzzah! brave protesters at BYU, huzzah!

Protestors are only brave in countries where they get killed, arrested or thrown into a gulag for doing so.

Otherwise, they are just standing there and letting their wishes be known.

P. Bunyan:

I wonder if focusing on what's wrong with America is really going to be a winning strategy for you leftists. I've always preferred optimism to pessimism.

I'd prefer a polician who focuses on what is right with America and has a willingness to build on that.

P. Bunyan:

I agree Heralder, the idea that it's "brave" to be a protestor in America is phenominally stupid.

You guys don't think it takes bravery for these Mormon students to stand up and protest -- in the middle of street -- in front of the Mormon-run BYU -- in the most conservative state in the union -- all the while being told by their parents and community elders that "I'll be praying for you"?

I do.

What does that mean to you... being told that divine intervention is needed as a result of your actions?

Heralder:

Not a fraction of what it means, Lee, to be run over by a tank, or not to be told anything, just to see a bright light shining in your face as your pulled out of bed by your hair and wrenched from your family and home - both of which you'll never see again. To be dug up in a mass grave, your bones needing to be separated from all the others.

Being told that you're being prayed for is not particularly brutal and scarring. It's not life changing or need to fear.

When you speak of bravery, do the dead a favor and speak it of them. They paid the ultimate price for voicing their convictions, the ultimate price not being a middle finger or prayers.


P. Bunyan:

If someone said that to me, I would think it means that they think what I'm doing is evil. It may cause some introspection, but it wouldn't make me feel brave.

You obviously have a very different veiw of bravery than I do.

Paul Hamilton:

It's really not that surprising that conservatives -- REAL conservatives -- aren't happy with the Bush administration. Bush abandoned conservative principles the moment he walked into the White House and a lot of folks on the principled right don't like him.

As for the courage to protest, I agree that these folks aren't putting their lives on the line, but at least they are INVOLVED in the process. In these days when more people care about Sanjaya than Gonzales, that's something to be commended.

P. Bunyan:

"Bush abandoned conservative principles the moment he walked into the White House"

That statement as a generalization is false. He never had some conservative priciples and others he did. Claiming he "abandoned" them is simple not true.

Care to give an example of a conservative principle he campaigned on and then abandoned?

Heralder:

I find no problem with siding with responsible protests.

Calling them brave when their penalty for doing so amounts to harsh words...I find ridiculous and a slight to people who actually are brave.

BYU student and war dissenter Diana Smith said she's used to being a minority voice at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints school, "but while many may disagree, it is usually respectful," she
said.

The courage!

Paul Hamilton:

P. Bunyan: Fiscal responsibility is the first thing that comes to mind. It simply makes no sense to conduct a war and cut taxes at the same time and the result was going from the greatest budget surplus in history to the greatest deficit in just a few years.

Among the others are stuff like the USA PATRIOT act which created the most invasive government in our history, and the No Child Left Behind act which imposed federal standards on local schools.

Clearly these are not conservative values.

P. Bunyan:

Paul,

You must've misunderstood my question so I'll repeat it stressing the critial points:

"Care to give an example of a conservative principle he campaigned on and then abandoned"

That's one of things I like about Bush. I don't care for every conservative position and neither does he. But, unlike a leftist candidate, he didn't lie about it during the campaign, either. What you saw was what you got.

It's you lefitists who've created this false image of the President and it's pretty foolish to complain that he didn't live up to your fabricated image of him.

Ryan:

I live in Utah, and I can tell you from an inside point of view that it's not surprising why Utah (with the exception of Salt Lake City) is the reddest state in the Union. For one, the religious right-wing ideology fits in well with what Mormons believe, so it flys here just like it does in the evangelical South. Secondly, and this is hard to put into words, Mormons have a kind of a "one mind, one voice" type of mentality that they are taught. There isn't much room for dissent or other points of view. If the church leadership takes a stand on something, that is the word of God and becomes the stand that is taken by all members. So, while the leadership doesn't officialy endorse the Republican party, they do so in actions. For example, Cheney swung by the church headquarters to meet with their prophet on his way down to BYU. I highly doubt Hillary would have been extended the same invitation. Salt Lake City, on the other hand, is kind of like a DMZ within the state. Ever heard of its mayor Rocky Anderson?

P. Bunyan:

"Mormons have a kind of a "one mind, one voice" type of mentality that they are taught. There isn't much room for dissent or other points of view. If the church leadership takes a stand on something, that is the word of God and becomes the stand that is taken by all members."

Wow that's interesting Ryan. Mormon's are exactly like democrats in that respect.

Ryan:

Wow, P. Bunyan. What an insightful comment. If that made any kind of connection with reality it would be even better. Dem's are the party of lockstepping sheep? Please. As an aside to the story of the thread, the dissenting faction at BYU managed more than just a protest. They actually got about 2,000 graduating students together and raised money for an alternate ceremony, where Ralph Nader was the keynote speaker.

Brian:

"Care to give an example of a conservative principle he campaigned on and then abandoned"

Sure. And more. And more.

That's one of things I like about Bush.

Typo in that sentence. It should read, "That's one of the things I like to pretend about Bush."

It's you lefitists who've created this false image of the President and it's pretty foolish to complain that he didn't live up to your fabricated image of him.

Yeah, those damn speech transcripts, audio recordings, and videos, followed by the public data, analysis, and news reports... all false and fabricated!

Brian:

Mormon's are exactly like democrats in that respect.

Hmm, seems like only yesterday the right was slamming Democrats for having multiple different proposals instead of speaking with a unified voice. (Hint: it's called "debate".)

It's OK for you to be wrong, but at least be consistent.

More on the effort against the Attack Dog Cheney's appearance:

"But it also produced almost unheard of dissent on the restrained campus of BYU, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Organizers of an online petition drive collected 4,000 signatures of BYU students and alumni who opposed Cheney's selection as a speaker.

The online petition in support of Cheney gathered a little over 1000 signatures.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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