There was a letter to the editor in the Deseret News recently wondering why there appears to be not even one legislator willing to stand up to Gayle Ruzicka and the Eagle Forum in Utah.  I will attempt to answer that question.

First of all, that is a silly question to begin with.  There are legislators who are the philosophical opposites of the Eagle Forum and do not agree with or support anything that the Eagle Forum stands for.  Perhaps the questioner meant to ask about why the Eagle Forum has so much power in this state.  It might have something to do with a statement on the home page of the Eagle Forum: “Leading the Pro-Family movement since 1972”.  Utah is very much about families.

The Eagle Forum is a very conservative organization dedicated to family values to the exclusion of other viewpoints and practices.  The Eagle  Forum is very pro-life, anti- equal rights amendment, against women in combat, for home school as a choice, against hate crimes legislation, for health care choices including alternative medicine, and for “exposing radical feminists for who and what they really are” whatever that means.

It appears that the Eagle Forum has as much power as they do because so many politically active people in Utah agree with many of the positions held by the Eagle Forum.   Many legislators walk arm in arm with the goals of the Eagle Forum instead of being pushed around by them.  Asking conservative Utah Republicans to “stand up” against Gayle Ruzicka would be like asking the National Democratic Party to stand up against organized labor, trial lawyer groups, liberal Hollywood types, and radical college campus groups.  The parties are not pushed around by these groups, the parties are marching hand in hand with these groups because of a common cause.

Perhaps another related question is why are there so many conservative members of the legislature?  The electoral system leans toward the most politically active people being involved in the early selection process even before primary elections.  The most involved people tend to be the most passionate about politics which then tend to have the most “extreme” views.

I put “extreme” in quotes because to the people who hold these views don’t feel “extreme”, they feel they have found a true and correct position based on principle.  They also probably think that any other right thinking person if they just knew as many facts, stories, history, had as much life experience, exposure to other cultures, or whatever would agree with their point of view.  To these people, their views are not “extreme” but common sense.

The political moderates tend to be moderate in their political activism as well instead of getting organized and making a difference.  It is the difference of an idea having support a mile wide and an inch deep, or having support an inch wide and a mile deep.  The depth of conviction will get more done.

The political system is working as intended.  The most politically active have the loudest voice in politics which translates to power in the legislature.  If you want to make a difference, get involved, get organized, find like minded people, and get to work.

Comments Welcome

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