David Rodeback's Blog

Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Thursday, October 6, 2005
Rocky Anderson Has His Own Brand of Intolerance

Let's hear it for Mayor Rocky, whose campaign to become a major national political (cartoon) figure is going just fine, thank you, if his goal is to become the next Al Sharpton. . . .

Let's hear it for Mayor Rocky Anderson, whose campaign to become a major national political (cartoon) figure is going just fine, thank you very much, if his goal is to become the next Al Sharpton. This week he gets some press in the UK's The Guardian, where I occasionally do some reading. The story is about the phenomenon of a very liberal mayor in the capital of the reddest of red states. (Maybe it's growing up in during the Cold War that makes me think we have the colors backwards when the lefties are blue and I'm red.)

The Gary Younge article mentions Mayor Anderson's assertion of his divine right to have Salt Lake City taxpayers pay for what other major cities' taxpayers refuse to fund, according to The Deseret News: booze for the mayor and his drinking buddies. It also discusses his recent executive order extending benefits to non-spouse partners of city employees, his devotion to the Kyoto economic suicide pact, and other major themes of his leftist agenda.

The Guardian quotes Mayor Rocky as saying, apparently with reference to the no-booze-on-the-public-nickel rules, which he mistakenly thinks are a form of oppression unique to Mormon Utah and the rest of the Islamofascist world: "I truly feel like we're in the middle of a Kafka novel sometimes . . . with a little bit of Taliban thrown in."

I will spare the unsuspecting reader my own pedantic assessment of which Slavic literary heroes the Mayor resembles; let's focus on that "little bit of Taliban." Anderson seems to fancy himself an intelligent, articulate fellow, so the least we can do is assume that he means what he says. Therefore, the Lord Mayor (a term I usually reserve for my own city's rule-of-me chief executive) thinks that the regulation absolving the public of responsibility for its leader's bar tab creates a climate of oppression similar to Afghanistan in the 1990s. In case you've forgotten, that's where the Taliban rulers required women to veil their faces on pain of death, refused to allow females to be educated, and generally excelled in violent intolerance.

Oh, for a time machine! We could send Mayor Rocky for a visit there, all dolled up in drag. I'll bet we could even bill the city for his junket, just like he does.

We could even try to compose our own outlandish simile. Let's see .. The Taliban were the government, and Mayor Rocky is the government. The Taliban imposed their morality on the people, and Mayor Rocky is doing the same, admittedly using radically different methods . . . But the important point here is not that we can make a comparison; it is that this is a very bad comparison, just like Mayor Rocky's.

His Honor is milking the Mormon hegemony shtick for all it's worth. His in-your-face tactics are not a measured response to some sort of all-encompassing Mormon tyranny. They are not the least extreme measures he can employ to get the job done. No, his fractious intolerance, while sincere, is also carefully calculated. He has noticed that, here in Happy Valley, we are consumed with worry that we'll look like the LDS Church dominates politics. So we're willing to be a lot more tolerant of things we don't like, such as a mayor's anti-Christian agenda, than people in other, less self-conscious large cities would be.

Yes, the Taliban crack is inappropriate and insensitive, but it is also in character. It's actually hard to feel sorry for the people of Salt Lake City for having such a mayor. They knew they were electing a pugilistic Anti-Christian Liberals Union lawyer, but they did it anyway. Then they had four years to watch him operate, after which they re-elected him. He may arguably have been the lesser of two evils on the Election Day ballot, but only because (here's a simile that works) the Salt Lake City Republican party is as dysfunctional at choosing good, viable mayoral candidates as the national Democratic Party is at choosing presidential candidates who can win.

Sometimes, in a democratic republic, the people get exactly what they want. Other times, they merely get what they collectively deserve.

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