Saturday, September 12, 2009

Respecting the President / Political Bullying

A friend of mine has blogged about the Nebo School District decision--and then reversal of that decision--NOT to let students hear the President of the United States speak. You can read his post via the link below; my comment follows.

Thanks, Gideon. As a couple of the comments have suggested, liberals and Democrats can be intolerant too, when given the chance. But the fact is that in Utah, especially Utah Valley, one party and one political persuasion heavily dominate. That means that here and now, they are the ones doing the bullying. They are the ones who can, and because many of them feel so certain they are right and see themselves so close to having complete domination, it is easy for many of the dominant persuasion to demonize, demean, and intimidate those with different views.
It’s not unlike racism. Of course, people of various races are capable of all that is good or bad in human nature. But typically it is racial minorities that face persecution, because the majority has the power to persecute and, measuring everyone against itself, easily transforms racial difference into inferiority.

With race too, Utah Valley has far to go. I had no idea it had SO far to go until I became friends with lots of the valley’s blacks and hispanics and learned some of what they, including their school children, face. Some of the incidents--I’m referring to incidents right here in Utah Valley--were so bad that when they were reported to President Hinckley, he wept. In response, he gave a stirring address in the priesthood session of General Conference, April 2006, in which he denounced racism and intolerance and mean-spiritedness in general, asking, “Why do any of us have to be so mean and unkind to others? Why can't all of us reach out in friendship to everyone about us? Why is there so much bitterness and animosity? It is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” No one indulging in such behavior, he said, “can consider himself a true disciple of Christ, nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the Church of Christ.” He called for efforts to “accommodate diversity” and called for any who were guilty of “racial hatred,” including “racial slurs and denigrating remarks,” to “ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.”

I wonder if we need such an address again, this time focusing specifically on political ridicule and bullying, especially directed against children. LDS Church leaders have long tried to persuade members that it’s OK to be a Democrat, that “various political parties,” including “all major” ones, have “principles compatible with the gospel.” Church leaders have deliberately, though quietly, encouraged political diversity in Utah. Just as previous Church presidents have met with presidents of the country, President Monson recently met with President Obama. President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballad attended the inauguration, and both felt encouraged by the spirit of unity they felt there. Pres. Uchtdorf said it was great “to see a unity there that I hope will last on and continue throughout the years of this administration.” He also said, “We pray for President Barack Obama’s success in these challenging times and join in his expressions of hope and optimism.” According to Elder Ballard, “We need to exercise our prayers and help him accomplish the great objectives that he has set.” All of this is vastly different in tone and spirit from much of what is heard in Utah Valley, where the great majority claim to be Latter-day Saints.

Simply being a citizen of the United States should impel you to listen to your president with respect, whether or not you agree with him. I don’t understand why so many in Utah Valley fail to meet even this minimal standard.

Posted by: Bruce Young September 11, 2009 at 04:38 PM

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