This statement is a Note on Facebook from my friend and colleague, Dominique Storni. I have nothing to add except my hearty endorsement of her remarks, and a wish that "I had said that..." So, now, I will....
Today at 11:17am
(feel free to post & repost)
I’d like to say a little something about Senator Chris Buttars, the President of the Utah State Senate, Michael Waddoups, and what took place at the Utah State Capitol at this morning’s press conference.
Many are upset with how Senator Waddoups responded; that he was maudlin, didn’t go far enough, or that he was complicit by not censuring Senator Buttars. By the tone of his voice and by the words he spoke, it is apparent that Senator Waddoups agrees with Senator Buttars’ comments and was upset he was forced to do anything at all.
Senator Waddoups was evasive in answering questions, and completely ignored the question from the Gay press. Did we really expect anything different? I didn’t.
The greatest good that has come from Senator Buttars speaking openly, honestly, and without filter, is that he has been exposed for who he is. Time and time again he proves how he feels about people who are not white and not Mormon. He has proven in words and in deed that he is a bigot.
That is not an ad hominem attack. It is simple truth. He has stated his disdain for people of color and for gay and transgender people emphatically many times. He has said that gay and transgender people are the greatest threat to America than anything else. He has declared that he will openly block any legislation that will give these minorities any civil rights.
When someone calls him on his behavior, he once again proves his true colors. In his own words, “I don’t care.”
This has not only created a stir in Salt Lake City. This has not only created a stir in Utah’s Gay community. This has not only created a distraction at the Utah State Capitol. This is now national and international news. Senator Buttars has single handedly brought more attention to backwards beliefs, bigoted thinking, false information, and stereotypical Utah attitudes than any gay or transgender activist could ever hope to bring.
The more he exercises his right to free speech, (which, by the way, I will defend to my death) the more he hurts himself, his constituents, and Utah. With every bigoted statement, he exposes himself. For me, the saddest reality is that Senator Buttars most likely does speak for his constituents.
By their failure to vote him out, by their silence, by their posts on ksl.com and other blogs, there are few among his supporters who disagree with him or who want him censured.
Hell’s bells, they re-elected him. They emboldened him. They empowered him to speak for them. And he does.
Two friends of mine stated it poignantly. The first said, “I think Waddops is an idiot - checking his watch every second - and then not addressing the GLBT community at all - grrrr!”.
The second said, “I think the outrageous part of Waddoups behavior isn't that he ignored us, it's that he actually said he and his colleagues agree with most of what Buttars said, but not ALL of it. Are you kidding me with this? Waddoups should be censured.”
I happen to agree with the Senate action. The harsh truth for those of us who are a bit more enlightened and a bit more progressive is that the voters should decide if this man serves or not. I don’t believe that he should be removed by the Senate until he breaks the law or violates the terms of his oath. It is up to the voters of West Jordan to decide if a bigot represents them.
Senator Buttars doesn’t care about anyone who’s not white and not Mormon. Senator Waddoups appears not to care, either. The people of West Jordan don’t appear to care. The people of Utah don’t appear to care. The elected officials on The Hill don’t care because they “agree with most of what Senator Buttars said.”
Some may speak less offensive words. Some may speak words of support. But their actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what they say. By their deeds, their words are erased.
By their fruits ye shall know them. In my humble opinion, their fruits are rotten. I suggest everyone read chapter 5 of the book of Jacob in The Book of Mormon and meditate on how the vineyard of Utah is represented in the parable of the vineyard.
In my Mormon youth, I was taught, “Where much is given, much is required.”
There are so many Utahns and so many Mormons who support equal rights for gay and transgender people. Recent polls show that the Utah legislature is out of step with the majority of Utah.
It is time for them to listen to the silent majority and stop being frightened into submission by the very vocal minority represented by America Forever, The Sutherland Institute, and the Gayle Ruzicka’s Eagle Forum.
When political leaders claim moral superiority due to their religion, or religious leaders claim high moral ground because of their politics, I see a major problem. Indeed, I see the secret combinations of the Gadianton Robbers spoken of by Helaman in the Book of Mormon.
I expect higher morals and more ethical behavior from my Utah politicians because of their religion.
To them I repeat the words of the Savior, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”