Opinion » Bill Cope

MORally MONStrous

Just keep reading; I'm getting to it

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I have something to admit. About that "Ask Bill" column in the paper last week. You know ... where The Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group sent me a letter expressing their fears that I might quit writing columns?

I made it all up. There is no The Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group. I was having difficulty coming up with something to write about, and ... uh, that's what I came up with. If you finished reading that column thinking it was pretty weird, you were right. Even I thought it was pretty weird. But that's the way things can get in Billville when I have to make up something to be interested in enough to write about it.

This trouble all started about the second week of November, when ol' Billville got hit by a, like, tidal wave of boredom. A pyroclastic blast of boredom. A category five typhoon of boredom. See, from sometime in early January to about 10 p.m., Nov. 4, I was increasingly agitated, anxious, suspicious, hopeful, anguished, tortured, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes enraged and sometimes insane. Yes, insane. I admit that, too. There were times when I believed I was going to end up in a rubber room, surrounded by other Democrats.

But by God, I wasn't bored. I was hopping on the Internet every hour to see what the polls were saying. I wore a hole in fivethirtyeight.com, I think. Things I've never been interested in before were getting my undivided attention like Playboy foldouts used to. The Dow? Gad, you would have thought I had money in it. I was listening to Keith Olbermann like he was John the Baptist and reading Huffington Post like it could save my soul from damnation.

And then, poof ... it was all over. There were a few days of lingering afterglow. I'd say from the morning of Nov. 5 to sometime the following Sunday afternoon, it was all, "Pinch me! Tell me I didn't dream the whole thing! Is there still a way they can steal this? Can you believe it?!"

But all of that eventually subsided, pulling back from the beach of my brain like the waterline does before a tsunami. Only when it hit, it was a zillion cubic tons of lukewarm boredom. I quit being ecstatic, I quit being enraged, I quit being insane, and to the detriment of my continuing obligations to Boise Weekly, I quit being interested.

Not that there hasn't been plenty for a perky brain to be interested in—Barack Obama's Cabinet picks; the creepy crawling back of Joe Lieberman; the creepy crawling forward of Sarah Palin; the creep Limbaugh trying to pin the economy on Obama; the bailout of this, the bailout of that; the racist ooze erupting around the country like geysers of hot vomit—you bet, I could have been writing about any or all of these, had I the interest. But that's what boredom is all about, yes? No interest.

But I think I'm finally coming out of it. The boredom sludge is receding and in the aftermath, I'm finding a few things to pique my interest. And in the remaining half of this column, I'm going to give you a real, un-made-up opinion. I figure your search for opinions is what keeps you coming back as generally, opinions are all I have to offer. And, if you have come this far, you are probably asking yourself, Where in the hell is the opinion, and if it's not here, why am I wasting my time reading this?

I sympathize with your irritation. But due to a variety of cowardice peculiar to southern Idaho, I have made a point of saving the opinion for last and leaving myself very little room to express it. I did it on purpose because I want to say it quick, then get outta here. My opinion this week will upset many local people, I'm certain. It will bring responses about how bigoted I am. How intolerant I am.

So be it. Contrary to something an area blogger once blogged, I have never claimed to be a "self-described paragon of liberal tolerance." I have claimed, repeatedly, to be liberal, but there's a crapload more to being liberal than placidly accepting any trash that tumbles off the Right's garbage truck.

Which brings me to the opinion. It has to do with the passage of Proposition 8, that California trash that befouled an otherwise heavenly election. Specifically, it has to do with the Mormon Church, which swung its considerable clout to the travesty of denying gays the respectability and dignity that Mormons have spent well over a century trying to get for themselves. And which now, they themselves should be denied.

That's right, you heard me. The Mormon Church has become a hateful bully and should be treated as such. Other people voted for Proposition 8, true, and much has been made of how black voters probably ensured its passage. But black voters aren't a money-soaked, monolithic, corporatized, sanctimonious monstrosity that poured $20 million into the effort, are they?

It's frustrating that there's not much we can do. We could refuse to spend our money in Mormon-owned businesses. We could refuse to vote for Mormon politicians. We could challenge their religious tax exemptions and I would love it if someone asked some serious questions as to why there's always a damn Mormon seminary within a stone's throw of nearly every high school from here to Salt Lake City.

But frankly, those of us who grew up around the smug self-containment of our Mormon neighbors will realize none of that would work and, in fact, would probably only make them more smugly self-contained. The Mormon Church has always luxuriated in their history of being picked on.

Yet after this orchestrated disdain for the happiness and emotional well-being of their fellow citizens, my fear of saying what I really think of them (that variety of cowardice I spoke of earlier) is a thing of the past. I am now free to be as unaccepting of them as they are of gays. There is an old tradition among rigid religions—I believe the Mormons still practice it on occasion—called "shunning." Now that they have placed themselves on the wrong side of both morality and freedom, I shun them. Better yet, I excommunicate them. They don't exist to me. Their marriages don't matter. Their happiness and emotional well-being don't matter. Let us move on, around them, as though they weren't there. Let us excise them from our thoughts and our hearts.

But listen, we would never want to be quite as intolerant as them, would we? And in that spirit, should they ever renounce the evil in their hierarchy and escape the sin of their dogma, we must let them know they are always welcome back, here in the fold of America.

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