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Notoriously red Utah garnered national attention this week when along with their mayor, Salt Lake City residents took to the streets in protest of President George W. Bush and his policies, most notably, the war in Iraq.

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson’s Speech Brings National Attention to Utah, Now What?

Notoriously red Utah garnered national attention this week when along with their mayor, Salt Lake City residents took to the streets in protest of President George W. Bush and his policies, most notably, the war in Iraq.

It came as a surprise to many that even in Utah, where President Bush maintains some of his highest approval ratings, thousands would turn out, in the middle of a work day to voice their discontent with this administration and contrary to some right-wing political bloggers, it wasn’t just “ne’er-do-wells” and “moonbats” who participated.

The crowd was indeed a mixed bag. There were teenagers, mothers, fathers, grandmas, grandpas, working stiffs clad in khaki and sporting their cell phones on their hips, co-workers on their lunch break and perhaps most markedly present were the hundreds of veterans and current soldiers in attendance. A former Marine Captain, Eric Martineau attended the rally, wearing his dress blues, offered this message to The Salt Lake Tribune, “’I want to let Utah know that pre-emptive war is not LDS doctrine,’ he said, noting he is Mormon. ‘We’ll look back at this [war] and see it as a turning point.’”

Some people carried signs while a few, more theatric members of the crowd donned papier-mache, big-head type likenesses of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice in prison stripes and handcuffs.

A poor sound system obscured some speeches, with most of the large crowd unable to hear the quieter speakers. But everyone could hear when Mayor Rocky Anderson took to the microphone.

Anderson, who bore the brunt of much of the criticism surrounding this event, was the undisputed man of the hour, drawing outrageous cheers and causing the sizeable group to huddle up, closer to the podium.

While critics have derided Rocky as a press-hungry sycophant, for Utah’s unsung liberal community, he was bringing international attention to all those who have for years felt crushed by the predominate culture of unwavering and unchallenged Republicanism.

Rocky’s speech has been described by some as a “flaying” of the president and it surely was. Anderson left no criticism of the Bush administration unturned; calling Bush a “dishonest,” war-mongering” and “human-rights-violating” president. But, it would be untrue to call the sum of the mayor’s message on Wednesday, entirely negative.

“Let no one deny we are patriots. We support our nation’s troops. Let’s hear it for our troops! We have many veterans here today. Let’s hear it for our veterans! We are grateful to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms. We love our country, we hold dear the values upon which our nation was founded.”

The mayor also addressed some of the disturbing comments made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the American Legion on Tuesday.

“We are here today because of our values. We love our country. We cherish the freedoms and liberties of our country. We don’t call those who speak out against our nation’s leaders unpatriotic or un-American or appeasers of fascists, as we heard from our nation’s secretary of defense yesterday. We have good, wholesome family values. In our families, we teach honesty, we teach kindness and compassion toward others, we teach that violence, if ever justified, must be an absolutely last resort.”

With the president gone and the banners and signs thrown away there is still much for Salt Lake City and Utah as a whole to think about. Should our state only and always be represented by the voices of those in absolute agreement with the Republican Party because the majority of our state’s citizens are Republican? Or can we find the integrity and strength of character required to treat all our many voices, ideas, priorities and convictions with dignity?

About Tracy Medley

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2 comments

  1. Can you say “Rocky For Veep?”

  2. William D. Pearson

    Dear Mayor Anderson:

    I watched you on the “Hard Ball” show tonight. I would have sworn that I was listening to myself talking to three other Veterans who I meet with every Friday at a local Do-Nut Shop.

    I am an 82 1/2 year old WW II Air Corps Veteran of the South Pacific. The other three Veterans that I meet with are: A Viet Nam Marine Gunnery Sgt., a Retired 20 year Air Force Veteran and another WW II Navy Veteran. These three are died in the wool Republicans who are now disenchanted with Bush and his cronies and they tell me that they are leaning heavily toward voting Democratic in 2008. The Republican Party in Texas is badly split, Far Right Evangical Republicans and Moderate Republicans. I prdeict that the Republicans will get only 46% of the popular vote in 2008 in Texas. I am a fiercly INDEPENDENT VOTER who has voted for 5 Democratic and six Republican Presidents in my lifetim.
    I study the facts about a Candidate and then vote for the best candidate for the job regardlees of Political Party.

    I too believe strongly in Bill Richardson. But his trouble is projecting himself more when he is making his speeches. After listening to you tonight I hope that you will be a VP candidate, either with Bill Richardson or the Candidate chosen at the Convention. You make a lot of good sense when you speak.

    Thank You for helping Bill Richardson and I hope that you would take a National Candidacy if offered to you. You would be good for our Country.

    William D. Pearson
    100 Cattle Drive # 71
    Fredericksburg, Texas 78624
    FAX: 830 997 3389
    Cell: 830 456 7224