Big Rock Candy Mountain

The official voice of the Deseret Liberation Organization

The brushfire is spreading

Yes, I know City Weekly is published on Wednesdays, but I didn’t bother to read mine until this morning. As always, John Saltas has some great stuff to say in the Private Eye column. This week, he fights back against people who went out against him for pointing out that this “Utah Boycott” fantasy of Savage’s does little, if nothing, to help the movement, and just means worse skiing for Savage. The Private Eye continues:

I suspect Savage hasn’t been to Utah since we first met. Insider baseball: Following a gay caucus at the 1996 convention of alternative newsweeklies here in Salt Lake at which local gay leaders spoke to persons who had called for a Utah boycott due to the Salt Lake City school board rejecting the gay/straight alliance at East High School, I asked Savage what he thought of Utah. He said, “I hate fucking Utah.” I asked him why, and he replied, “Your gay bars are way better than Seattle’s.” Hating and boycotting Utah isn’t new to Savage who needs some new verbs and a more effective call to action. Last week, he was off to ski in Colorado. Now, he’s changed his mind—maybe because it’s been pointed out that James Dobson of Focus on the Family might share a ski lift with him—and is apparently heading to Whistler, British Columbia. Nice, but that’s like boycotting tofu by eating edamame.

It’s great to see someone pointing out that Dan Savage and his HRC allies have DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING since the glorious quasi-compromise of DADT, while simultaneously making huge amounts of money from well-intentioned liberal elites who need a new cause to support. All they have succeeded in doing is perpetuating the gap between gays and the middle class. They have alienated millions of potential allies with this type of knee-jerk reactionary politicking.

In spite of the 100% evil and reactionary population that exists between the Tri-State Area and Savage’s beloved Left Coast, the movement is growing. Join the Impact resulted in substantial and hate-free protests across the nation. Mr. Savage should come here during Pride Week: he will see one of the best Pride Parades in the country.

The fact that the interior west lacks the moderating influences of oceans has been a constant during its history. The region has fluctuated between periods of hyperpolitical left-wing advocacy (Populism, the Progressive Movement, the New Deal, wilderness, etc.) and periods of similarly radical rightist movements (Goldwater, the “Sagebrush Rebellion,” the Perotistas, et al). Brown v. Board was a case about schools in Topeka. The first men to die so that their brethren could be free died in “Bleeding Kansas.” Utah was the first state to give women suffrage, which was almost as controversial as the contemporary Mormon policy of polygamy back east.

The demonization of all Mormons is uncalled for. Firstly, it prevents our movement from reaching out to Mormons who are sitting on the fence on the issue, which, judging anecdotal evidence, is a substantial amount of the Utah population. In addition, it hurts the LDS faithful who have been behing LGBT rights for a long time.

The LDS Church leadership made its position known. However, contrary to the ideas some may get from sexed-up armchair histories of the territorial Utah, there is no Mormon hive-mind. Not a few brave LDS souls openly opposed proposition 8. And the entire state of Utah looks down upon the boycott-men as prime examples of divisive, hate-mongering idiocy.

Shut up and start working to ensure equal rights for LGBT Americans. Instead of organizing knee-jerk boycotts, how about marching the streets to demand our rights? How about writing to your representatives instead trying to avoid JetBlue? In martyred Utah activist Joe Hill’s final words, “Don’t mourn, organize.”

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