Friday, August 7, 2020


Moab, UT

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    On toppling statutes and other flash points

    Something in the Desert

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    Men donned wooden masks and numerous layers of sweatshirts and ponchos then proceeded to hit each other with whips as they danced around the town square.
    Doug McMurdo
    Doug McMurdo
    Editor Doug McMurdo reports on news out of the Moab City Center, tourism, courts, change of government and more.

    Like many of you, I have very mixed feelings about the toppling of statues, but chances are slim that our mixed-up viewpoints are similar.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing every single statue of a confederate general or of confederate President Jefferson Davis, or any other traitor to the Union from that awful conflict melted down and turned into paperweights.
    But mobs bent on destruction shouldn’t be allowed to down these statues without suffering consequences. Every town that features such statues should have public hearings and engage in robust debate about what to do with them.
    And then, once all the comments have been heard, order workers to remove them.
    I’m all for renaming every military base currently named after a confederate. Why in the world would anyone want to honor men who tried to destroy our nation? We have no statues of Benedict Arnold, Judas Iscariot, or more recently, Robert Hanssen or Aldrich Ames. Why let these guys be the exception?
    My emotions are not so cut and dry with other statues. Abe Lincoln and U.S. Grant are deservedly credited with freeing the slaves and winning the Civil War. Why the hell would protesters tear down their statues?
    Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation efforts alone should keep people away from his statue. And then there’s John Wayne.
    I know Wayne held starkly racist views. He told us all about them in a number of interviews, and I suppose, taken in the context of 2020, we should be appalled.
    But that’s the problem. Aside from all those confederate statues that were erected in an attempt to change the narrative as to why the South seceded from the Union in the first place, we should be very careful going forward.

    The Statue of Liberty

    Just as it is unfair to judge a 30-year-old by a mistake they made at 15, it is patently unfair to compare anyone from the past to the social mores in play today.
    With the exception of anyone born in 2000 or later, we all come from an era that was vastly different than the environment in which we find ourselves today. And the older we are, the more difficult it is to bridge that divide.
    I don’t think we should love anyone unconditionally except for our children, and even then, I’m not so positive. But we really can’t judge so harshly people who were not perfect human beings.
    There won’t be anyone to revere if we go down that road. Not our parents, not our spouses, not our heroes, not our teachers, pastors, preachers or priests and definitely not our warriors.
    • • •
    I was not proud of my response, but I would do it again. Saturday at City Market every single person in the store was wearing a mask, except for one old man — he was about my age, maybe a year or two younger — and his maskless face had the look of someone just waiting for a confrontation.
    I obliged because I’m not playing the freedumb game. If you don’t want to wear a mask, stay home.
    I don’t want to wear a mask. I know nobody who wants to wear a mask, but we do either because we care about other people or we were told we had to, as of July 7.
    We had a very nasty exchange and I used harsh language because I like to be an effective communicator. He was offended by my four-letter words, plus that one word that has 12 letters. I was offended by his cavalier, selfish, stupid attitude.
    It seems I won because I saw him a few minutes later and he was wearing a mask.
    I came into work Monday and was sorting through the calls that local law enforcement responded to over the weekend and saw that a guy at the Driver’s License Division got so mad when he was told he had to wear a mask, he broke the front door on his way out.
    Now, he’s going to have a huge bill the court will call restitution, a lawyer will want money to help him with his newly acquired criminal record and he is still going to have to wear a mask.
    • • •
    I didn’t realize how much of my life was spent watching sports on television until the pandemic hit. Football, basketball, baseball were all must-watch TV, especially during the playoffs.
    Boxing, UFC, hockey and soccer were in the second tier, and I watched plenty of those contests with just a little bit less enthusiasm.
    I miss my sports and was depressed to find myself watching something called Cornhole ­— which I was relieved to discover was not a sex act — involving grown people tossing a sack of corn kernels at a board with a hole in it. It was kind of like horseshoes with none of the drama.
    Nonetheless, I watched the competition for about 20 minutes and was actually getting interested before I came out of my coma and took the dog for a walk instead.

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