David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Friday, April 27, 2007
Briefish Thoughts on Several Subjects
Relatively brief musings on a time machine, Vice President Cheney's speech, his detractors, Superintendent Henshaw and the "extremists," and what could cause me to leave the Republican Party after tomorrow.
I haven't blogged much this week or last. It's not that there hasn't been a lot to think or blog about. It's LBB, if you must know. As usual. In any case, here is a collection of thoughts, before they get too stale. I'll save the most bizarre for last.
If you had a time machine and could go back and try somehow to avert the Virginia Tech massacre, most of the things you might try -- killing the shooter before he kills, preventing his admission to the school, preventing his immigration or his gun purchase -- would be out of bounds, if you held to the rather obvious rule that we don't punish people for things they haven't done yet.
Some of the other things you might try would be futile, because a lot of people already have long been trying (or tried or have tried) every imaginable method to accomplish that thing. For example, banning guns altogether nationwide, defeating the on-campus gun ban, or electing different leaders. By the way, does anyone with an ego smaller than a former presidential candidate's really think that American society and politics would have been calmer and more humane -- enough somehow to avert tragedies like this, I mean -- if Al Gore or John Kerry had defeated George W. Bush in 2000 or 2004, respectively? (I know. It's a dumb question. A lot of people think that. Not I, said the blogger.)
Perhaps you would be left with a single possibility: befriend the future shooter and try to draw him into the normal associations of civil society. Since we don't actually have a time machine, it's too late for him, of course, but how about the next potentially alienated potential murderer? Or the one after that? Or the one after that. Of course, we don't know who they are. So maybe we should reach out to everyone just in case.
If you'll forgive my borrowing and mangling a phrase, "Let there be civil society on earth, and let it begin with me." It won't prevent all further bloodshed, but it might prevent some.
The Vice President's BYU Speech
Vice President Dick Cheney's speech at Brigham Young University was charming, intelligent, classy, apolitical, very appropriate, and short (for a commencement speech). It was a nice contrast to the associated liberal hype, which for the most part was not charming, intelligent, or apolitical. The soundbites I heard were short, but quite tedious: the same old ridiculous, bitter harangues. Give the Vice President an A for the day. Some of his opponents . . . not so much.
Why is it that liberals protest conservative speakers, but, for the most part, conservatives don't protest liberal speakers, or, if they do, they do it on a much smaller scale? So it seems to me, at least. Is it because conservatives mostly have more useful things to do with their lives? Is it because conservatives don't share liberals' overwhelming sense of their own moral superiority? (This week, I'm having a little trouble believing that one.) Is it because conservatives don't share liberals' view of government as the engine for societal change? Or do conservatives just get less news coverage?
Now, Fellow Extremists, Let's not Be Extreme
In what to me would be an embarrassing bout of fantasy hair-splitting, Alpine School District Superintendent Vern Henshaw has clarified his meaning. No, he didn't mean that the parents who think the District was extreme to jettison multiplication tables from the District's math curriculum are themselves extremists. What he really meant was, their views are extreme.
No, he didn't mean to call us wascally wabbits, just to say that we hop like wabbits, look like wabbits, live like wabbits, reproduce like wabbits, are very cuddly like wabbits, and taste like . . . chicken.
Thanks, Dr. Henshaw. I feel better now.
And sir? One more thing. I didn't get as upset as some other people when you called me -- I meant to say, when you didn't call me -- an extremist. I understand, as some others may not, that this is simply how you were raised. You were just articulating the values of the dominant educational culture which taught you through childhood and youth and well into adulthood, and which has embraced you so fully that it has elevated you to your current exalted position in that culture. And I'm not clamoring for you to resign, either, because I don't think the next guy (or gal) would be any better.
I even understand how you could mistake thousands of discontented parents -- and students! -- for a few extremists or malcontents. I'm assuming that the same dysfunctional establishment also taught you math.
If This Passes by a Landslide Tomorrow, I'll Leave the Republican Party on Monday
I finally looked at my delegate instructions and other materials related to tomorrow's Utah County Republican Party Organizing Convention. This year's proposed platform has many of the same flaws I identified in last year's. Obviously, I didn't point them out to enough of the right people (if there are enough). But the real highlight is not the platform at all.
The mailing includes a copy of a proposed resolution, on which the Convention will vote tomorrow. I'm probably say more about this later, but for the moment just the title will tell you everything you need to know: "Resolution opposing Satan's plan to destroy the U.S. by stealth invasion."
I'm not saying the party leadership endorsed this; it appears that one can get a resolution on the agenda just by submitting 1500 copies of it in time for mailing. (Which -- and this is a thought for another time -- gives me an idea.) I am saying, I plan to vote against the resolution. And if enough of my fellow delegates don't join me, I will cease to be a member of the Republican Party.
I really don't know where I'll go after that, and still remain in Utah County. The Democrats and the Greens are too far left for reason (among other things). Utah's Constitution Party is just like the right-wing Republicans, only worse. And so on, and on, and on, and on. And don't think I'm a moderate, either; I'm definitely conservative, and I flatter myself that --
On second thought, I won't finish that sentence. I would just be calling moderates names.
Copyright 2007 by David Rodeback.