Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rexburg Needs These Lumps

There's been a lot of hand-wringing in Rexburg the past week over the negative attention the town has received since news of a handful of school children chanting "Assassinate Obama" on a school bus spread worldwide. Both the mayor and the superindendent of schools issued apologies over the incident, at the same time engaging in damage control over the sullied reputation of "America's Family Community" -- Rexburg's motto.

Most of the community, however, remains in denial, choosing instead to blame "liberals" for making a tempest in a teapot.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: These kids didn't say anything they haven't heard at home. I can't count the lies I've heard spread about Barack Obama here, nor the many times I've heard him referred to as Barack HUSSEIN Obama, as if a middle name is enough to make someone the epitome of evil. I've heard adults here say Obama should be shot before he tkes ofice. I've heard people say George W. Bush should refuse to leave the White House rather than turn it over to Mr. Obama. I didn't dare put an Obama sign in my front yeard prior to the election because I didn't want my house vandalized. So to hear that kids are repeating what they've heard Mommy or Daddy say at home doesn't surprise me much. Because those little pitchers, they have big ears, you know.

And we've heard it all before. I can't count the number of vile things I've heard said about Bill and Hillary Clinton, including that both of them deserve to be shot, buried alive, et cetera, et cetera. Maybe these things are said in jest. But kids don't know that. They take what parents say as gospel. And they repeat it.

To those who are upset that this has turned into a "liberal" shitstorm: Wake up. Rexburg, I've noted in eleven years of living in town and in the vicinity, has a penchant for sweeping its ugliness under the rug. Alcoholism just doesn't exist here, of course, but there are many people who are chronic "Nyquil" drinkers. Drug addiction and dealing doesn't exist here, and if it does, it's the fault of the "Mexicans," and if there are troublemakers at school, its highly likely that they're not members of "the Church." Kids here are lily-white. Nobody ever does anything wrong.

This is all, of course, a load of bull cookies.

I'd like the message to get out, though, that not everyone is oblivious here. Thankfully, one concerned parent spoke up about the Assassinate Obama chant. Others speak up about other concerns. I'm fortunate enough to be part of an Elders quorum where we discuss concerns like this openly. We're not all Democrats -- in fact, it's likely that I'm the only Democrat in the room. But we all realize that the ills that beset our society cross partisan lines.

Then we run into people like a BYU-Idaho freshman who wrote a letter to the editor of the college newspaper, basically saying that those in the LDS Church who vote Democrat shouldn't get temple recommends. (Read the paper editor's fine rebuttal to that argument here.)

That being said, I enjoy living here. I like the quiet here. We ahve our problems here, but in many respects there are fewer problems here than in other parts of this nation. I just wish we could discuss this partisan/little pitchers problem more openly, without people once again hiding behind the town's lily-white facade.

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