Utah Democrats, Please Ditch the Religious Bigots
"Honey catches more flies than vinegar." It's an old English proverb and like most proverbs, there's something to it. In the art of persuasion, you are more likely to bring someone to your point of view with civility, rationality, and concessions when you are either wrong or don't know the answer. Politics, it seems, prefers brute intimidation. It is largely a game of berating and belittling your opponent into submission, trying to make them look bad using loaded questions, and using condescending language and references. It's juvenile and unbecoming supposedly civilized people.
I've come to see that some of the prime offenders in this melee are "angry left" Democrats who lob invective not only at Republicans but at Utah's dominant religious group, the Mormons. Now, I can understand why they're angry. The Republican Party in this state is full of arrogant jerks who need that superiority complex taken down a notch. There's a lot of straight-ticket Republican voters in this state, and Mormons are notoriously conservative folks. I should know. I'm one of those politically conservative Mormons. (I don't, however, vote straight ticket.)
The problem with this anger is how it's expressed. Just take a look at some of the comments on a blog on the Tribune's site. Two of the six are filled with slams on a religion. Aren't the Democrats supposed to be the part of tolerance and mutual respect? Doesn't that mean tolerance and respect for those with whom you disagree? These two yahoos aren't doing Democrats any favors by alienating a core group of Utah's population. Instead of trying to present convincing arguments for why Democrats might make the better choice, they instead bust out their superiority complexes thus making them no better than the Republicans they vilify.
This is going to cause headaches for Utah Democrats in a number of ways. First, Mormons are going to associate the Democrats with Mormon-haters, driving them further into the Republican Party. Second, many non-Mormons will be turned off by the religion-bashing and stay away from the Democrats, associating them with this bad behavior. Third, it will make many Democrats, the vast majority of which are good people, shy away from participating in a party that allows such bad behavior to occur.
This isn't just a Utah problem either. Nationally, people of faith who'd like to be involved in liberal/progressive politics stay away precisely because of the religion-bashing that occurs. Several liberal bloggers have noted this problem within the party of "tolerance" and are pretty sick of it, even if it isn't them being bashed. This is a sickness of disrespect that must be done away with. Bashing religions is not okay.
It's not okay to Muslim-bash. It's not okay to Jew-bash. It's not okay to Catholic-bash, Protestant-bash, or Mormon-bash. Utah Democrats, if you'll take care of the hatemongers among you, we'll see what we can do about Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. We don't much care for them either.