David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Monday, August 10, 2009
Three Utahans: The Nominee, the Religious Bigot, and the Racist
Thoughts on three Utahans who made the news last week in unrelated stories.
Lieutenant Governor Nominee Greg Bell
Here's a lengthy Deseret News article about Greg Bell, whom new Utah Governor Gary Herbert is nominating as his lieutenant governor. I don't know anyone on the short list, but Bell seems to be considered a more moderate choice than some of the others. That's probably a very good thing where a short list of Utah Republicans is concerned; if the list is a reasonable cross-section of the state party, it's almost certain to contain at least one wing nut. Wing nuts belong in the "Letters to the Editor" section, not in high political office. (See below.)
Most recently the Assistant Majority Whip in the Utah Senate, Bell could become the next governor. New US Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Jr., is the second among the last three Utah governors to resign midterm to accept a federal appointment. In any case, it's not likely that the Utah Senate will have any serious qualms about confirming him later this month.
A Double Standard for Bigots Is not News
Speaking of wing nuts on the editorial page, Mr. Casey Jones is a member of the Salt Lake Tribune's editorial board. He stirred up a furor last week with a Tribune opinion column aimed at Mormons, their enthusiasm for reproducing the species, and the real impact large families have on schools and school budgets. (If you're going to read it yourself, do it soon, before they break the link.) The column was either poorly-executed humor -- there are signs of that -- or sincere vitriol. An announcement later in the week, which is already unavailable, that he was kidding, and that those who took him seriously are rubes, came rather too late and too rudely to be fully convincing. Its plea of innocent-by-reason-of-sarcasm might be true, but I'm not sure it helps.
Whether it was poor-quality humor or bitter sincerity, if he'd written similar things about Jews, African-Americans, or possibly even Catholics, he would now be unemployed and possibly also unemployable. But tolerance is a one-way street in contemporary American society, and there are certain groups -- mostly Christians of one stripe or another -- toward whom one can feel and express bigotry without actually being a bigot in the eyes of the beautiful people.
There are some good lines in the piece, including this one:
So much for the wheat. Here's the chaff, what Jones suggested we do about the education problem:
For my part, I enjoy reading the Salt Lake Tribune. I read it as much as I read the Deseret News. I'm disappointed that a member of the editorial board has such limited skills and judgment and such fondness for drinking whatever designer Kool-aid is within reach. A person in Jones' position really ought to know:
I know, I know. Some of those insights are too much to hope for just now. More's the pity.
Whether the Jones editorial was bad humor or bad seriousness, I am comforted by the thought that, if my four children and his two "accidents" are any indication, people who can think for themselves, do real math, and think critically will soon outnumber his Kool-aid swilling ilk.
By the way, and apropos of nothing, one of my favorite columnists at the Salt Lake Tribune is Robert Kirby. He's good at humor, and good at using humor to communicate an intelligent insight in an unbigoted manner. Here's a recent example.
Utah Latino Leader Calls Most of His People Racists
According to a Deseret News story last week,
Let me see if I understand the thinking here. Yapias is disappointed that Senators Hatch and Bennett did not assume that Utah Hispanics are racists, who judge a person primarily by skin color. He wanted them to be racists, too, and base their votes on her skin color.
Who's the racist in this picture?
For the record, the Hispanics I know in Utah tend to be hard-working, family-oriented people who are capable of independent thought. They deserve better than being condescended to by a bigot who styles himself their spokesman.
David Rodeback comments (8/11/09):
Here's another column by Casey Jones, this time about responses to the column discussed above. He's in better form in this one.
Copyright 2009 by David Rodeback.