Sunday, May 1, 2011

Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair

It has taken me all day to write this because I want to make an appeal to both sides of the HB 116 and I want to word this delicately and perfectly. Sadly in my carefully crafting this odds are this will get buried with posts about the successful killing of Osama Bin Laden. Congratulations, and thank you to the hard work of the troops that have brought about this tremendous victory. I have always said when Obama does something right I will say so. In continuing the Bush policies on the war on Terror Obama did the right thing concerning Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank you President Obama for staying the course. I might have had my doubts about the direction this war has gone, but the end of it is in sight now and that’s a good thing. This is a wonderful development and I hope it signals the end of our involvement in the Middle East.

It never ceases to amaze me just how nasty politics can get. It’s getting to the point where I feel icky just being a political activist. I can only imagine how gross I would feel if I were ever elected. During the 2010 cycle it seemed like we were all on the same page, all on the same side, and there was only a small handful of people who couldn’t keep from calling establishment folks corrupt, or tea party folks freaks and radicals. At the 2012 SLCO Organizing convention one of those most guilty of this uncivil name calling got the boot from his bid for the Party Chair position. Not Surprisingly the venomously anti-Tea Party Rick Votaw responded to his loss with name calling and accusations on his facebook page which he later had to apologize for, the very sort of behavior that cost him the election. This should have been a surprise to no one as he had been one of the most vile and hateful and uncivil people toward the Tea Party in the SLCO GOP, as is his son and blogger Jeremy Votaw whose hateful vitriol against Tea Partiers caused me to stop reading his blogs. Remember I consider myself riding the fence between the Tea Party and the Establishment so I hate to see either one disparage the other.

Likewise some Tea Party folks, very dear friends of mine, have decided to step up to support Orrin Hatch, the way they have been treated by some of their fellow Tea Partiers is shocking and distressing. Moreover learning of some people trying to push other people out of the Young Republicans or other GOP groups for this reason or that, all of which are completely invalid and ridiculous concerns that are not about rules (as the Young Republicans, for instance, have no bylaws) or anything other than people abandoning friendships in pursuit of their own political gains, or taking radical steps to silence a voice who might disagree on this issue or that, its sick and its wrong. Nobody should be trying to chase anybody out of anything within the party. We’re a family damn it! I personally refuse to abandon my friendships for personal glory and I hope those of you reading this blog will commit along with me to putting friendships over politics.

Especially with the killing of Bin Laden occurring on Obama’s watch expect the President’s approval rating to skyrocket making beating him that much harder. ONLY A UNITED CONSERVATIVE FRONT WILL DEFEAT OBAMA IN 2012. We cannot afford to have these petty inter-party arguments anymore. Make your case, let the delegates vote then win or loose let’s move on.

This applies also to the vile debate over HB 116. I am not a supporter of this disastrous legislation or any of its companion bills. I am a proud supporter of the Repeal HB 116 group, though gas prices keep me from making it to the conventions (sans SLCO). I do not support any aspect of the Immigration Reform Package at all. I believe there is enough material out there by other better bloggers than I that I don‘t need to make this blog longer than it already is by going into my reasons, but I do have logical reasons for opposing this bill. If you want to know where I stand on immigration please reference Hans Herman Hoppe or Ron Paul. I can summarize by saying this: the entire thing is unconstitutional and though I find the authors and primary backers of the Utah Compact to be nefarious in their intents it’s worth pointing out that these bills also violate one of the key principals of that compact: A Federal Solution.

There are many reasons Libertarians, Conservatives and even Progressives should oppose this bill. There are good reasons why people on any level of the Right support it (ironically some of the reasons Progressives should hate it.) In my opinion the cons out way the pros, but I at least appreciate the bill was well intended and does have a few good ideas. We just don’t have the Constitutional authority to do anything about immigration at all as a state. That is why I say we should look at Mississippi because their solution deals only with the things which impact illegal immigration but are within the state’s control. Nevertheless I am really tired of the immigration debate when the Mississippi solution to the problem is the only real solution and it’s sad to see the lack of imagination we sometimes have in our efforts to solve problems. Sometimes the solution is so simple… Mississippi solution, please look it up.

This debate is indeed made more complex by the Church’s weighing in in support of the bill. Even more so by the implication that the Church’s view on the matter had been previously misrepresented, an allegation I take personal offense at, and shame on the PR department for the implication. Please understand that when I have blogged about the Church’s position in the past the information I provided was absolutely accurate at the time. I have never at any time misrepresented the position of the Church on any issue. The Church has since come out in clear support of the immigration package, debate over the Church’s position is no longer an option for those who oppose this bill, they have clarified it, they support it. Fine, but neither I nor my friends ever “distorted” the Church’s previous statements in any way shape or form, the previous statements were deliberately vague and avoided direct statements of support indicating support for the principals of compassion and keeping families together while avoiding a direct endorsement of HB116. That, however, is no longer the case and I and my friends fully accept that, but our opposition remains to the bill not the Church as some legislators and others have inferred.

Despite the Church’s opinion on this matter I have not changed my mind. No one should expect that the Church’s opinion will kill off the debate, though it has tempered some of the opposition to the bill. In example people I have talked to in Tooele are outraged over HB116, but now are conflicted on what to do because of the Church’s statement. I will grant you I did no polling of the delegates in Tooele, I prefer to speak with the non-politically active when possible to gauge the opinions on the street. In this case I spoke with people my family associate with as I am new out this way and don’t really have many friends out here, nor will I be here more than a few months, I will be back in Murray in the fall, gas prices alone will ensure that. I will grant you that I have not had the opportunity to study Tooele’s opinion as well as I had Murray prior to moving, and prior to the Church’s statement of support.

“Liberal” Murray, prior to the Church’s statement, overwhelmingly hates HB 116. It would be interesting to see where people are now. Supporters of HB 116 in Salt Lake County are now spreading over facebook, twitter, and if I recall it even ended up in the SL Trib that Salt Lake County Delegates now want a re-do of the vote passing the resolution against HB 116 in light of the revised statement by the Church. I will grant you I was not at the Tooele Organizing Convention but it’s not hard to imagine how conflicted delegates might feel now fearing their status with the Church might become jeopardized should they do what they feel is right and stand against this bill. It’s amazing what fear will do to people. It’s why I call myself the Unapologetic Apologist… I fear nothing, I fear no one. Drop me from your facebook, call me whatever name you want, threaten my standing with the Church and threaten to kick me out of the party, it doesn’t win the argument… I follow the facts and facts are, as John Adams said “stubborn things.” It’s also hard to imagine that I can loose anything more than what I have already lost in the last two years so what’s for me to fear? I guarantee you, without the Church in the debate HB 116 looses. I dare the legislature to argue the merits of the bill and leave the Church out of it. I dare opponents of HB 116 to do the same.

Ironically the Church’s support of Proposition 8 did not change the mind’s of the Liberals and Progressives in the Church who mostly did not hold their nose and do what the Church asked, in fact they joined their fellow non-member activists and turned to protesting the Church directly in one of the most vile and disgusting displays of defiance against the Church we’ve seen since the Church took a stance against the ERA. Nobody was excommunicated. In reality there was no need to fear excommunication, and there isn’t now.

To date most members of the Church who stand opposed to HB 116 remain committed to the Church. There have been no hateful and vitriolic protests outside of temple square, no kiss-ins, no boycotts, no releasing publically the names and addresses of those who support HB 116, no one loosing their jobs or having their lives threatened, no old ladies having crosses knocked out of their hands by protesters before she receives a ruthless beating. There has been no vandalism of Church property, no swastikas, no protesters outside the LDS temple in New York shouting, “stop the Mormons, stop the hate.”

That being said some have expressed concern over disparaging remarks they have heard from the Anti-HB116 crowd, cruel swipes taken at the Church, the Prophet, etc. While I have heard none of this from opponents of HB 116 who are members of the Church I do run into it on occasion from those who are members of other faiths, but only rarely. Supporters of HB 116 should not assume that all of this state and everyone in the GOP are LDS, we only make up 40% of the population and many non-members are beyond furious. How often do you hear the accusation that the Church controls the state? How often do we as members have to fend off that fallacy? Where these remarks are made I wholeheartedly condemn them and will continue to do so. Despite the Church’s weighing in, this argument is not, and must not be about the Church. It’s about HB 116. Again, I dare both sides to quit bringing up the Church and focus on the bill itself.

That said there have been many on the Pro HB 116 who have gone out of their way to make it as though supporters of a repeal of this bill are going “against the Church.” We’re not. We love the Church with all our hearts, and being portrayed as being in anywise in any disagreement on any level has been making a good number of us literally ill. We’re going against a bad piece of legislation. There are too many who have referred to us as “far right, radicals, extremist, shrill voices on the right,” you name it, sometimes from elected officials. Elected Representatives have an obligation to be better than the grass roots activists that elected them. They have an obligation to set an example of how politics aught to be (but never has been). Most of all they have an obligation to represent the view of their constituents and not work against them or use the Church as a bludgeon against those who disagree with their decisions. Logic and reason not emotion and fear should be used to justify their positions. Period.

The idea that supporters of a repeal of HB 116 are heretics is being sold not in any way by the Church itself, who has not made any such announcement or proclamation, but by politicians who fear the backlash that is coming. They might be able to stop the demand for a repeal, as more counties have voted against it than for it in the wake of the Church’s announcement (and in my opinion the opposite would be true had the Church not weighed in), but they cannot save their jobs and they deserve to loose them because of their failure to live by the very standard they frequently call for: Civility.

It is not civil to demand civility in debate at the same time you are calling someone a nut job and a heretic or directly or indirectly implying excommunication for those who disagree. Its hypocrisy and the representatives who refuse to rise above the cat calls and verbal bludgeoning will be replaced. It’s that simple.

Legislators should be aware that they might have gotten the Church to side with them on this legislation, but they should well remember the Church makes no endorsements of political parties or candidates and they will not be able to make the threat that a vote against them will be at the peril of the individual’s salvation in 2012 or 2014 where applicable.

The Church rarely weighs in on politics, when it does one should not expect everyone to just agree and go along to get along. At the same time no one should expect the Church to toss people out for political differences. My goodness, Harry Reid supports the abortion clinic Planned Parenthood, Socialism and a number of other things the Church has spoken out against. Worst of all he directly made the allegation that Ezra Taft Benson lead the church into a state of apostacy!-1 Harry Reid has said some things which have astonished me and it’s clear that for him Party (Democrat) comes before Church. He justifies it by saying the Church’s doctrine of compassion is his motivator. Fine. I am an Objectivist, though I disregard Rand’s philosophy on religion, I use the Church’s doctrine of hard work and self sufficiency to justify my position. I accept that disagreement exists. We all have likened the scriptures unto ourselves, and that is fine. I wish Reid would apologize for the awful things he’s said about ETB but he understands the gospel differently than I do. That’s okay, not what he said about ETB, but disagreeing with me politically. God will deal with whom he will deal, I doubt a political disagreement is going to send him to hell. Odds are he will be fine judgment day because of how he conducts himself on the whole. In person he’s a good man, that he’s a bad legislator is inarguable. But it’s the kind of man he is that will decide his fate even if some of us would delight mightily in his burning in hell… And shame on us for wishing ill upon a fellow Priesthood holder. I will repent for it later. As for me? I’ve been called selfish, greedy, unconcerned with the poor, war monger, whatever else… none of its true, but I don’t believe in altruistic government. I acknowledge the good intentions of the compassionate legislators, but guess what the road to hell is paved with? Not logic and reason… The hell I take and comments I have to delete for believing that logic should be the key to governing and not compassion is astonishing. They think I am going to hell… I say, I’m living in Tooele, could it possibly get worse?

The accusations of heresy from the supporters of HB 116 have gotten so loud that even the Salt Lake Tribune took notice at the recent Utah County Organizing Convention. They commented, “Religion has punctuated many aspects of the debate — with opponents of the guest worker bill being billed as “heretics” and supporters violating Mormon teachings on honoring the rule of law.” -2 A new pin is being circulated stating “I might be a Herodtic” referencing the recent flood of persecution that Rep Herod, an LDS representative who disagrees with HB 116, has been getting. Please do not be alarmed if I grab one of these pins because I too was told to my face by a suit (politician) I was going to hell for my opposition to HB 116 at the Salt Lake County Organizing Convention. I did not catch that reps name, however, that attitude has been omnipresent in our legislature. We absolutely must stop doing this to each other.

This ridiculousness is making me sick and making me regret becoming involved with politics and putting in the countless hours into helping the Party out over the last two years. It makes me wish I had just stayed in Dr Glenn Kimber’s Constitution classes and just kept reading about politics instead of duping myself into believing I could actually make a difference. Instead of seeing the unified front against Socialism I had hoped to find I find myself surrounded by power hungry fear mongers eagerly tossing friends and relatives under the buss while using the Church as a bludgeon to get their way. I don’t know how many hundreds of hours my wife and I have put into this, but I am a hair’s breadth away from walking away from all things political. I know I am not the only one sickened by the sophomoric behavior of our elected representatives, and “moderate” activists and even some of the demagoguery on our side of this argument. I may make on occasion humorous videos at the expense of politicians, but comedy is one thing, I have always worked hard to be civil and restrained, especially in person, this from Dr Kimber’s advice to avoid being obnoxious, and the Governor’s advice to keep my Conservative (in my case Libertarian) principals, but speak in a moderate tone. Not to pat myself on the back but I challenge anyone to point to an incident in the last two years where I was anything but civil.

The point is that there are those accusing people like me of heresy. Need I reference again what the SLtrib observed? Heresy is not having a political opinion which varies from the Church’s norm. If the book were not in storage I could direct you to a passage in “Prophets, Principals and National Survival” where George Q Cannon states that it’s okay to disagree with the Church so long as you are not disruptive about it. This goes back to not being obnoxious and using a moderate tone. I hope I have earned your trust enough to ask you to take my word just this once since the book is not available to me to give you an exact page and proper citation. Nevertheless the entire book is available online at It will take a while to find but it is there if for some reason you don’t trust me, (like me being a radical right wing nut and an “extremist” according to the “moderates” of the GOP just because I don’t agree with absolutely everything they say or do.)

In contrast, I do believe that a great example of heretical behavior would be of the opposition to Prop 8 and I believe that Sen. Reid has made heretical statements too because for me heresy means operating outside that parameter set by George Q Cannon, its disruptive. Attacking the Church and its wonderful leaders the way the pro-gay marriage crowd and the way Sen. Reid (again a Democrat) have, I believe, is what constitutes heresy. Yet despite the awful behavior of Reid and the pro-gay-marriage crowd, no one has been excommunicated. Now I’m okay with the Church not agreeing with me on everything. As the party’s token Libertarian (for now at least) I hold a number of views most members of the Church might object to, such as ending prohibitionist laws or basing laws on morality as opposed to logic and reason. I say these kinds of things and most Mormons on the left or the Right become horrified, though thankfully no one has sought to excommunicate me from either Party or Church, and that is what makes this Church and this Party so amazing is that they allow for a big tent, a wide variety of opinion on a large number of topics. We come together on the issues that we agree and generally civilly debate the rest and at the end of the day we are a family… It must remain so because at the end of the day defeating Barak Obama and his radical transformation of America is absolutely more important than the argument over HB 116. We must be prepared to stand together in 2012 or we will loose.

Thanks once more to Governor Herbert and Lt Gov Bell and the elected representatives who have been civil and refrained from using the Church as a bludgeon for their amazing civility in this matter. We do not agree on this matter, but they are still my friends in my view. Those elected representatives and any others hissing vitriolic hate about “shrill voices on the right, radicals, nut jobs,” and the oh-so-hated “Tea Party” can expect to meet the same fate of Rick Votaw and his son Jeremy. Defeat by someone who, like Julie Dole, will raise the bar. You cannot win the support of the masses if you cannot be respectful to the majority who will be your constituents. I have conducted many civil debates about this issue before stepping down as a Murray Leg Chair. Those in attendance can attest to the level of civility we presided over. There was no smart-alecky remarks, no cheap shots, no name calling, just genuine heartfelt felt concern. Nobody attending these meetings supported HB 116, all would be deeply hurt by the allegation that their lack of enthusiasm for this ridiculous bill meant they were heretics.

Everyone on both sides of this argument can do more to raise the bar of civility and show the world we can disagree without being disagreeable and in the end come together to solve the world’s problems. It is my genuine hope that logic and reason prevail over emotion in the debate over HB 116, however I expect to find 0 friends on my facebook page when I wake up tomorrow as I will likely have offended everyone while trying to appeal to everyone, ironically the very failing of the bill in question. Whether you support it or not, let us discuss the merits, or lack there of, of the bill and leave the disparaging remarks directed at the Church and at the opposition and at the supporters behind. Let us commit ourselves to that standard of civility we all know the Lord expects and talk rationally about this bill, or as George Washington would say, “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.”

1-Statement by Harry Reid 10-9-2007 at BYU Forum “In the past years we’ve had some very prominent members of the church, like Ezra Taft Benson, who are really right-wing people… Members of the church are obedient and followers in the true sense of the word, but these people have taken members of the church down the path that is the wrong path.” (Emphasis added)

2-“ Utah County GOP passes anti-guest worker resolution”, David Montero-Salt Lake Tribune 4-30-11.

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