Friday, August 31, 2007

School Vouchers - Part 2

With regard to my previous post endorsing vouchers, please understand that just because I resent educational practices which undermine "traditional values" that does not mean I therefore want public schools to do a 180 degree turn and begin teaching Christian doctrine. That is not my position at all. I just want Secular Humanists to stop trying to impose their faith and their social agenda upon society by way of the public school system.

Please allow me to supply some examples so you can better understand where I am coming from:

While I attended public schools outside of Utah, I was forced to take numerous classes on Evolution where the ideas taught were presented as being fact instead of theory. Questioning this dogma was not tolerated, even though today many of the claims behind those theories have been revised or abandoned. So, do I now object to the teaching of the various theories of evolution? No, I just want them to be clearly taught as theories and no more.

Also, while growing up, I was forced to take more than one class on Sex Education. My personal experience was that the material covered, and the way it was presented, actually caused me more confusion and anxiety. Do I therefore object to educating children about sex? No, I just believe that parents need to play the primary role in deciding how that is to be done and what values are going to be shared during that instruction.

So, how does this relate to Utah schools?

Well, just within the past few weeks I have read a column by Rebecca Walsh in the Tribune, a column by Holly Mullen in City Weekly, a blog entry by Holly Mullen on Mullentown, a blog entry by Holly Mullen on City Weekly's website, an editorial by Planned Parenthood in the Tribune, and an editorial by the Salt Lake Tribune, itself, all calling for more sex education in Utah and/or its schools. I suspect such a call resonates with many other left leaning individuals within our state and its school system.

But, I am concerned that these individuals are so eager to instruct my children, because I have found that their beliefs are sometimes diametrically opposed to my own. I love my children more than I do my own life. I want what is best for them more than any of these good people could even come close to approaching. Thus, I want to be the one teaching my children about sex, not Planned Parenthood or its allies.

As long as I am alive, I will strive to ensure that my parental rights are preserved so that I am free to raise my children in the best way I know. I see my support of vouchers as being a way of creating options for me as a parent -- options which empower me as I perform my responsibilities.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

School Vouchers

I support the concept of school vouchers because I believe they may help to bring accountability to a monopolistic system that has long been out of touch with traditional values.

In the turf battles of our current culture war, much of the media and educational establishment were captured early on by the Left. The backlash to its subsequent abuse of these institutions is found in the development of such things as conservative media and school vouchers. If the Left does not like these things — and there are many reasons why it should not — it has only itself to blame.

Diversity and freedom of speech is sacrosanct to the Left, as long as diversity means “different than traditional values” and freedom of speech means “speaking against traditional values.” But, the Extreme Left shows its true colors with its visceral opposition to diversity in educational options and freedom of speech by those opposed to their counter-culture agenda. This, I believe, is the textbook definition of hypocrisy.

I wish that such unworthy behavior were limited to the Left, but, sadly, such is not the case. The Right frequently disappoints me with the stunts pulled by its extremists as well. The key, I guess, is for each of us to learn how to think clearly for ourselves, to not just go along with the lemmings running on either side of us, and to not merely regurgitate the talking points handed down by the most extreme voices on either side.

In that spirit, I repeat that I support school vouchers in concept. There may be problems with Utah's current attempt to implement them, but the experiment is appropriate, and such problems can be addressed over time by corrective adjustments as needed.

Despite claims to the contrary, the Earth is not going to end if Utah pursues its limited trial of vouchers. Let's give them a fair shot, see what happens, and then go from there. Let's not let the fear mongers dissuade us from perusing this reasonable course.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Question for Salt Lake City Mayoral Candidates

According to their respective websites, the Salt Lake Tribune and KUTV are hosting a debate for the Salt Lake City mayoral candidates to be broadcast on Sunday, August 26th at 5:00 pm on Channel 2. Citizens are encouraged to record their questions on video and submit them via YouTube at the following group address: Questions may also be submitted via e-mail to All questions should be submitted by Monday, August 20th.

The following is the question I submitted:

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Friday, August 17, 2007

A Mormon in the Whitehouse Song

Monday, August 06, 2007

Mitt Romney, My Candidate

The following video of Mitt Romney was secretly and unscrupulously taped by a Des Moines, Iowa radio host named Jan Mickelson (or, by someone associated with him) as he interviewed Governor Romney on the air. The whole thing smells like a set-up, and yet, as you can see, it clearly backfired. Simply put, Mitt dominated.

This incident reminds me of a run-in Ronald Reagan had early in his 1980 campaign when he was filmed growling at a newspaper editor who was trying to silence him by having his microphone turned off: "I'm paying for this microphone, Mr. Breen!"

For some reason, Reagan's gut level reaction hit a chord with many Americans. It was real. The people loved it. I suspect this video will do the same thing for Mitt that the Gipper's comment did for him. I could not be more pleased.

I love this video. (The truth is, I needed it.) Far better than the debates have even come close to approaching, it reveals Mitt Romney's true quality. From it, we can see that the man is clearly up to the task of being President of the United States -- he is brilliant, he is honorable, and he can kick your butt if you are an obnoxious jerk. Note to Sam Brownback: Be afraid . . . be very afraid.

Give 'em heck Mitt!

P.S. After watching the video yet another time, I find that my heart is softening somewhat for Jan Mickelson. I need to remember that sometimes sincere people make mistakes. I now choose to give him the benefit of the doubt.

It's just that the first couple times I viewed the clip, I was so irritated by Jan's constant interruptions. He was asking tough questions. If he really wanted an honest answer (as I am sure he did) then he needed to be quiet long enough for it to be given.

I am a faithful, active, practicing Mormon. Everything Mitt Romney said to both Jan Mickelson and George Stephanopoulos was accurate. But, they were both so suspicious, and so convinced they knew better, that they rudely implied he was misrepresenting his faith.

That just drives me up the wall! Do they really believe they know more about his faith than he does? Do they really believe that he would ever attempt, or that he could ever get away with, publicly misrepresenting Church doctrine? That is nuts!

All the other candidates get to talk about their campaigns in a traditional fashion, addressing policy positions, etc. But, Governor Romney is repeatedly forced into talking primarily about the doctrines of his church. You can see how he might come to feel that he must now put his foot down, give short answers, and turn the subject back to traditional politics.

If you want to know about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are numerous official outlets for obtaining that information. Mitt Romney is not one of them. It is not fair to single out Romney among all the candidates, and force him into being the one who only gets to talk about religion -- all the time, every time.

Is it fair to ask some questions? Sure. He has said that he is a believing Mormon. All the evidence would indicate as much. Okay, let's move on. But, if you think Mormons are freaks and you want to do an expose on them, then do it on your own time. Don't waste his limited time in front of the public, trying to tell him what he does and does not believe. That is not your right.

Realistically, a candidate only has a few seconds of air-time in order to portray himself to the voters. Apparently, certain folks in the media think Mitt Romney's time must be spent trying to explain complicated religious beliefs in mere sound bites. That is wrong.

He, understandably, wants to run as a candidate who also happens to be a Mormon. But, these people are insistent on portraying him as the Mormon who also happens to be a candidate. That is not right.

But, now that we know that is the way the game is going to be played, then, perhaps, Governor Romney should take a few more opportunities to let loose with some more unscripted and emotionally charged outbursts. These, unlike all the over polished statements one typically hears on the campaign trail, have the unmistakable ring of truth to them. That is why I loved this video.

Because of that, instead of being irritated with Jan Mickelson for repeatedly talking over the top of his guest, I really should thank him for producing the most credible portrayal of Governor Romney to date. Without him, we would not have this treasure.

Thanks, Jan. Please forgive me for being irritated.