Alliance for a Better Utah’s selective silence on violence

ABUAlliance for a Better Utah has no shortage of selective outrage or hypocrisy on our state’s political stage. The recent silence on Rep Justin Miller’s “alleged but everyone is pretty darn sure he did it because HOLY CRAP HE SAID THAT ON TAPE” embezzlement of upwards of $34K from Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams’ campaign is a pretty shining example, especially considering the, er, “enthusiastic” participation in calling for former Attorney General John Swallow to suffer every possible consequence but stoning in a public square. There’s also their rather glaring inconsistency on disclosure of money in politics which seems to be best summed up as “we want to keep ours secret and force Those Other Guys to disclose every red cent”.

So then coming down the pike is the latest ABU exercise in brow-furrowing, “deeply problematic” selective outrage about violence being used to influence the political process. I think we’re all more-or-less on the same page that threats of violence (or following through on those threats) isn’t generally a good idea, though we sometimes make exceptions for things like fighting King George III or the Nazis. A discussion about how to resolve political problems without trying to injure or murder each other seems like a good idea, no?

Well, sure, as long as we’re being even-handed about the kinds of violence. This is where ABU goes more-or-less off the rails. The highlight of their planned conversation is going to be the protests down in Recapture Canyon and some associated thing going on in Oregon. And nothing else. Because, obviously, there have been no other incidents of widespread political violence in this country we can talk about.

This begs an obvious question: when you’re going to have a #RealTalk conversation about political violence, why are riots being ignored entirely? Isn’t the question of resolving issues between law enforcement and the general populace kind of a big deal, especially since that’s one of the few functions of government almost every one of every political persuasion can agree is legitimate? Is this ABU pandering to an audience that is at least sympathetic, if not supportive, of those riots? It seems like the answer to those last two questions is probably “yes”, or should be anyway.

This is yet another reminder that so many non-partisan political organizations are staunchly ideological, so much so that their “non-partisan” label might as well have the air quotes and wink at the end. Alliance for a Better Utah just seems to put itself right in the middle of that more often than most.

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