Monday, August 28, 2006

What Utah's Non-SLC Residents Think of Rocky

The chief newspaper in Weber County, the Standard Examiner, has recently published a number of letters to the editor denouncing Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson as an embarrassment to our fair state. Many of these letters decry Rocky’s promotion of the anti-Bush, anti-war, anti- … um … anti-whatever-the-majority-in-this-state-believes-to-be-normal-and-good rally (sort of reminds me of P.A.G.A.N. from the 1987 Dragnet movie) that is planned to coincide with the President’s visit to SLC on August 30.

The general sentiment expressed in these letters is that Rocky’s promotion of the rally in the capacity of the mayor of Utah’s capital city is, to say the least, disrespectful of the office of President of the United States as well as disrespectful to the office of Mayor of Salt Lake City. I daresay they have a point.

But let’s look at the facts. The people writing these letters don’t choose to live in Salt Lake City. They are not Rocky’s constituents. Rocky’s controversial, attention-grabbing style should not be news to anyone. While Rocky’s tactics have often been divisive (especially publicly), he has also used his influence to pull people together and make various proposals work (less publicly).

To some of his constituents, Rocky is a hero. To others he is a devil. To some he is a wide-traveling, tantrum-throwing brat that wings into town only to make waves and grab headlines. To others he is just another politician. His constituents have handily elected him twice, and while some think that he has decided against running for a third term because his reelection chances are poor, it is debatable whether a majority of SLC voters share this view. In any case, Rocky’s determination not to run again precludes the opportunity of finding out whether this is true.

Like most urban population centers throughout the nation, SLC has become increasingly liberal as many traditional families and conservatives have fled to the suburbs, creating stronger enclaves of liberals. That makes SLC a bastion of blue in a sea of red, much to the delight of some and to the chagrin of others.

Rocky remains an enigma to the majority of the inhabitants of the red ocean that surrounds his blue island. In fact, the whole island remains an enigma to them. It seems to proudly and priggishly defy the values held dear by them, and yet they can’t bring themselves to live there so that they might have some inside influence in these matters. Still, SLC remains in many ways the hub of the state, and that galls them all the more. And it galls many Mormons that sometimes-hostile SLC surrounds LDS Church headquarters, even while many non-LDS residents chafe at the influence wielded by this hub within a hub.

Yes, Rocky’s support of the anti-majority-Utah-values rally as an in-your-face to President Bush is inconsiderate and inappropriate, but it is hardly unexpected. It could be worse. At least SLC doesn’t have Marion Barry as its mayor.


That One Guy said...

Or Ray (hole-in-the-ground, hole-in-my-head, God-wants-a-chocolate-city) Nagin.

Rocky wrote a good op-ed piece in the Trib yesterday... here

Frankly, I'm not a huge fan of Rocky's recently, BUT I would have to say that the idea of a protest is not something I am opposed to, and I don't think it's disrespectful at all.

Bush should be impeached for what he's done in the last 36 months, and NOBODY'S saying anything.

The first paragraph or two from that op-ed bit, if you'll permit...:

When Thomas Jefferson wrote that "dissent is the highest form of patriotism," he indicated our duty as patriotic Americans is not to keep obediently silent when the policies of our elected officials damage our country and its standing in the world. Rather, our duty is to defend those shared principles that define us as Americans against those who would violate them for inhumane, destructive ends.
Patriotic Americans believe that those in power must earn their authority over other human beings. That authority is not earned simply by gaining office; it is earned by upholding our nation's values.
The demonstrations on Aug. 30 are directed at an administration whose policies have been disastrous and sometimes even illegal, and at a Congress that has unquestioningly supported these policies.

On that, he's right.

Jeremy said...

That One Guy,

Thomas Jefferson never said, "dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

That is the problem with a lot of the arguments that come from Rocky and many on the looney left. They aren't based on real facts.

I don't think Bush should be impeached. I believe His party should be turned out of office with the best possible speed and we should work on solving problems caused by our current government instead of spending all our time trying to impeach and investigate Bush.

Scott Hinrichs said...

I did not intend to imply that it is morally wrong to protest in order to promote one's view. I said that it was "inconsiderate and inappropriate" for SLC's mayor to do so, but since when should a political protest be polite and socially acceptable? Isn't that the whole point of the exercise? Socially acceptable protests, like tea parties, can be pleasant events, but they don't really make a statement.

The issue is that many Utahns see Rocky as a sort of spokesman or ambassdor for our state, and they feel that he is misrepresenting their point of view. That's why some will counter-protest. Go for it. I've got better things to do with my time.

On a point of protocol, Rocky's article promotes an urban myth that falsely attributes the dissent quote to Thomas Jefferson. While the Thomas Jefferson Library does not deny that Jefferson might have at some point made such a statement, there is no record of it in any known authoritative source. Indeed, it seems that the quote came from a WWII pacifist. But Rocky's in good company, since many other public figures have also used this misquote to make their points.

That One Guy said...

Reach: Good points... I think it is neither inconsiderate nor inappropriate to protest (or rally) for one's own beliefs, no matter the venue... However, doing so within the office of Mayor might be another story. Obviously, he feels strongly about it.

Jeremy: I, on the other hand, DO feel that Bush should have been impeached as long ago as early last year. We were all so fast to jump on the impeachment bandwagon for Clinton, when we were talking about a moral indiscretion, while all the time the country enjoyed "the lowest unemployment rate in modern times, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the highest home ownership in the country's history, dropping crime rates in many places, and reduced welfare rolls. He proposed the first balanced budget in decades and achieved a budget surplus." (from the website.)

But since Bush's indiscretions are fiscal, rather than physical, an impeachment motion doesn't have traction. With all sorts of laws having been broken, both domestically and abroad, intentional deceipt with regard to foreign policy, and a laundry list of other things, we are not even thinking about impeachment, because he is seen as a "moral" man.

That's a load of horse-apples.

But that's another post for another day.... How do we define "moral" behavior? Is it as narrow as our physical actions as to sexual behavior?

I'll do this on my site rather than using the comment section of another blogger to make my points. Thanks for listening.


Scott Hinrichs said...

While the technicalities of law could be applied to seek the impeachment of a president, it is only when sufficient public sentiment exists that it can be successfully pursued, and even then it is a national tragedy.

It is certainly arguable that it is better for a nation's soul to enforce the law, but I will argue that the Clinton haters in the GOP were wrong to pursue the President's impeachment. There was a widespread understanding of wrongdoing, but there was no majority groundswell that wanted the President to be impeached as there was when Nixon resigned.

Legal and political scholars have looked at the possible impeachment of President Bush. Those that are at least somewhat unbiased suggest that it would require the utmost legal twisting to prove that the President is personally guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. Even if Congress were to accept such, analysts believe that it would be nearly impossible to achieve the votes needed for impeachment in a Democratic Congress.

Impeachment really only works when public sentiment has already determined that it is the only reasonable course. Despite the fact that President Bush is unpopular, wildly so in some sectors, such broad public sentient does not exist. If the Democrats push this in the absence of general support, I contend that they will harm their own party. Just as non-partisans turned against Clinton-hating GOP candidates, the same would happen to Bush-hating Democrat candidates. The resulting dysfunctionality would be a national tragedy.

Anonymous said...

The fact is no matter what Rocky does or says (except when he endorses Republicans) he will be attacked from the right, and from some on the left.

All week I have listened to Right-wing radio send the GOP message that if you are against the war you are against the troops. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Democrats are not only pro troops, they actually believe that supporting the troops means support them even after they come home. Many of our men and women who have served continue to come home only to find the benefits they were promised are disappearing. If you don't believe me go spend a day up at the Veteran's Hospital and see for yourself how are government treats our loved ones who have served.

Another problem is the irresponsible Right-wing approach to journalism that is so blindly followed by the conservative owned press. Everywhere you look there are examples of stories that attacks anyone who isn't following the GOP Party line. If you disagree you are an "idiot" or "irrational" or "helping the terrorists". What ever happened to respecting each others opinions? What has happened to respect?

It is reprehensible how the press, GOP leadership, and those on the Right continue to bear false witness against those who have differing opinions.

I am one who believes that it would be irresponsible to leave Iraq at this time. I also believe that the man and women that are serving are doing great things and should be embraced. However I also feel that we need to create a plan that brings are soldiers home, and that we need to once again focus on those who actually did and will attack American soil. Does anyone even remember the name Osama?

Any winning coach will tell their team that the way to win is to keep their eye on the ball. My question is simple, when did we lose the ball, and why is it that we are so quick to punish each other and make absolute statements against or own brothers and sisters, who truly are still an important part of our team.

This attitude of "Republican good, Democrat bad" or vice versa is getting us nowhere! Wake up Utah! We are all in this mess together, and don't we all truly want peace? Sometimes I wonder.

Scott Hinrichs said...

I doubt you will find more than a very few that think that Iraq has been handled as well as it should have been. The best conservative military analysts will be happy to catalog the failures for you, despite the rhetoric of the talk shows.

Wars can only be won when they are pursued in a manner that is calculated to win them. The administration has not been doing this in Iraq. But Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, offers a glimmer of hope that this is changing in this article.

I must disagree that we need to go back and focus on who did what five years ago and then go forward from there. That strategy completely ignores the fact that a lot has happened in five years that cannot simply be erased with the wave of a magic wand. Instead, we have to look at where we are today, consider where we want to be in five years, and then go forward with a plan that is calculated to get us from point A to point B.