Tuesday, November 28, 2006

[Davis County Watch: Creative Solutions] Mountain Peaks of debate

There are certain issues that have become untouchable by ordinary logic. These fall under the broad head of what is called 'political correctness'. All that need be done to squelch discussion on any topic is to mention one of these code-words. In print these ciphers can be easily recognized because they are often bolded, capitalized, or italicized. When these key words are given in a sound it is appropriate to wear earmuffs.

Some sounds can still be heard with earmuffs.

When code-words are ignored by either party, which is rare since it is so deeply ingrained in our psyche, then the code can be escalated to another level.

A label.

Labels can define who the offender is without the inconvenience of a presumption of innocence. There is no longer a need to listen once a label has been successfully applied.

These key words start having their effect on us when we are very young, but they don't take full hold until we gain some experience in dealing with them.

Our programming can be reversed, but not without some conscious effort on our part. It takes two things.

Air, and exposure to ordinarily offensive materials (Not pornographic, but something that elicits a bolded response in our minds).

Listen to someone with whom you might presumably disagree, and then instead of cutting them off with a code-word, breath deep.

Take another breath.

Now for an example that could try even the most practiced of this art. The issue is now moot, which is a fantastic reason to entertain another perspective.

Moot arguments carry no inherent risk to the status quo.

In 1895, Utah was being considered for statehood, and delegations gathered to decide upon the drafting of a state constitution. One, unexpected, wedge issue was suffrage for women.

B.H. Roberts had been sent with another to represent Davis County.

When word got back to his party that he had taken the lead in opposing suffrage then the following was sent.
"DEAR SIR:_Our attention has been called to the position you are taking in the Convention, regarding woman suffrage, and we are informed, in fact the Herald says as much, that you are looked upon as a leader of the opposition on the floor of the Convention. This position is not in line with the sentiments of your constituents, and further, in the county convention that nominated you, a resolution was presented and adopted, favoring equal suffrage, and requesting our delegates to work for it. Our campaign, locally and territorially, was conducted with this as an important plank in the platform.In view of these facts, and the further fact that Davis County is so overwhelmingly in favor of an equal suffrage provision in the Constitution, we feel it our duty to ask you to not oppose this suffrage plank. If your convictions will not permit you to vote in favor of it, you might at least, remain inactive in the matter, and thus save our party the humiliation of having their pledges broken."
Roberts was asked to resign if he could not restrain himself. His Co-delegate chose to read the above letter to the entire body. (A little aside: the letter was signed by a man that, later, had Roberts speak at his funeral.)

Now what is interesting about the proceedings is that Roberts was given some time to speak, and after his time was cut short, he negotiated with the body to be allowed the final word.

The delegates opposed to Roberts spoke for an additional two days. On the third day, Roberts was finally given the opportunity to close the debate, knowing full well, that he would be buried under the votes against him for suffrage.

I find Roberts closing remarks to show tremendous courage and his arguments to be logical. I find I can't help but agree with him on some of his points, and yet the argument is moot.

It's clear that Roberts knew what could be done to him by invoking just a few code-words.
"I know, sir, for announcing this doctrine in such cool terms that I shall be anathematized perchance as a tyrant to women, a man unfeeling and tyrannical in his disposition towards the fair sex, but I shall trust to those who know me and my life not to take any serious consideration of that accusation, and I shall try to convince this Convention by an expression of my views on that subject, that I do not believe that leadership, headship, responsibility of precedency, is necessarily accompanied by tyranny and by oppression."
The main part of Roberts remarks took place on April 2, 1895.

Posted by Tyler Farrer to Davis County Watch: Creative Solutions at 11/28/2006 11:31:00 AM