Monday, March 26, 2007

Cheney to Deliver Commencement Address?

Whether or not God grants the prayers of those praying for a "scheduling conflict" in the invitation of Dick Cheney to speak at BYU I see only good coming from this turn of events.

It reminds me of a story from my early college days (at BYU). A bunch of us guys were watching a late-night comedy show on broadcast television. The show had some crude material, but in all honesty we didn't think much of it. A couple of us had our girlfriends come by. Suddenly it seemed each act was raunchier than the last. It was a little bit uncomfortable. The next day we were talking about it and concluded that quite possibly the show was always like that but we'd just overlooked it because it was, indeed, pretty funny.

I think a lot of Republican members of the LDS Church tolerate a great deal of corruption, deception, etc. in the Republican party. I think they do so because the national platform does, indeed, include much that is family-friendly, good, and wholesome. But having Dick Cheney contrasted in such sharp relief against the backdrop of our LDS beliefs and the mission statement of BYU could be a godsend (perhaps in the literal sense!) for a lot of people.

I do fear there will be lots of partisan bashing and many people that just refuse to look at the man or his message honestly. But I am sure there will also be quite a number that finally see blind partisanship and loyalty to the Republican party (or any party hopefully) to be actually inconsistent with their beliefs and morals.

In my opinion, Dick Cheney is not an inspiring man . . . at least not in the ways I hope BYU would want to inspire its grads. He is the partisan politician's politician. You want Dick Cheney in your corner when you are in the heat of a partisan battle with no holds barred. He's a tenacious bulldog. He is a one-note instrument that the Republican partisan extremists are happy to have in their tool chest. He is not a great leader of men or a builder of understanding. He is a savvy strategist with amoral predilections.

Sometimes the partisan apologists will cry foul when his military deferalls are dredged up from his murky past. I take exception with this. I just don't see how you can make too much of the fact that FIVE times the man purposefully dodged military service and yet here he is, poster boy for 'military solutions' that involve sending young men and women off to kill and die. Five times!

Vice President Cheney represents all that is wrong with our current foreign policy. Vice President Cheney represents all that is wrong with the revolving door in the military industrial complex. Vice President Cheney represents all that is wrong with partisan politics in the US today.

I can think of a very short list of speakers that I think would be more inappropriate for a BYU commencement. But I can't think of a one whose visit I think might do more good.

Does this mean I'll stop praying for the scheduling conflict and a graceful defusion of the contention? No, of course not. But like all my prayers, I'm willing to work with God's answer either way (I'll admit to being partisan when it comes to God). It's just this time I can already see hope no matter which direction this event goes.


brooke said...

Hi James,
thanks for your blog. keep on blogging. i'm a new convert to the church - i never ever expected to find God in the LDS church, but I did, and so i joined the church. but i'm a liberal and before i ended up here in Utah at USU i was a peace activist in eugene, oregon. sometimes i feel rather odd being a liberal, peace activist mormon in utah, but now that i've joined the obama camp, i've found other kindred spirits. keep on blogging, people need to know that not all mormons fall in line with the republican party and a pro-war stance.


jenica said...

totally agree with your post, and the previous comment. keep up the ranting. i've often felt a little guilty and definently ostricized for believing differently than mainstream republican mormons. it's nice to know that i'm not the only one!