Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Higher Standard

Every now and then, I get stuck in a comprehension rut. I find that certain cliches and weapon words (and expressions) befuddle my brain and temporarily stifle my ability to develop my counterpoint. I am - shall-we-say - decoyed by deceit.

I remember when Judge Walter Steed (at Tapestry's behest) was removed from his position as Judge.  The complaint was that he was a polygamist.  He had one legal spouse and two other mature lady partners who were not his legal spouses.  My guess is that he thought of them as "wives" and thus satisfied the standard of guilt under Utah's (joke of a) bigamy statute.

Around the time of his dismissal, the cry went up that he needed to be held to a "higher standard".  What does that mean?!  Was this just another "word-trick"?  Is a judge required to "obey more laws" than regular citizens?!!  In a post-Lawrence era, he was committing no crime.  I know of other judges who have had extra-marital dalliances - and they have not been removed.  Clearly, the offense was not his private unions with other partners, it was his RELIGIOUS involvement in the practice of RELIGIOUS polygamy.  The "higher standard" required of him was not that he eschew an involvement with multiple partners, but that he not engage in religious plural marriage as a fundamentalist Mormon (once the hater-nasties decided to target him [after his decades of exemplary service]).

Let's face it, folks, as fundamentalist Mormons and polygamists, we do hold OURSELVES to a significantly higher set of standards.  That is where we fall afoul of the enemy's scrutiny.  We embrace the "fullness of the Everlasting Gospel".  We aspire to the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom.  We seek to live - not by bread alone, but - by EVERY word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.  We strive to abide by higher law doctrines which the schoolmistress Church long ago jettisoned.  Though as imperfect as the other folks around us, we simply choose to strive for loftier attainments (like Lance Armstrong).  I think that is what gets us in trouble.

You see, the angry, bitter, shrill harpies who seek our eradication are gonna hold us to it, darn 'em.  In their tireless fault-finding crusade, they know we are trying hard to emulate the perfections of our Creator, and the best weapon they have against us is to trumpet our imperfections from the rooftops.

In last week's B.C. polygamy circus trial, the opposing lawyers (solicitors?) tried their darn'dest to find fault in the two sweet ladies who had prostrated themselves on a public altar in defense of true principle.  "Did you know Tom Green?"  "Did you write a defensive letter when you were young?" "Did you go on television?" (all capital offenses in an anti-polygamy universe . . . . ). Granted, those hostile lawyers were grasping for ANY possible wrinkle of imperfection in the two witnesses. No such luck.

So my conclusion is that there is simply a bizarre double-standard in this titanic contest.  We hold ourselves to a high standard of ethics and conduct, and the hater-nasties will make quite sure that they hold us to it, too.  Meanwhile, they hold themselves to no standard whatsoever.  Their vitriol, hyperbole and unbridled hysteria go unchecked - even prized and encouraged.  When they take the witness stand or deposition chair, they can prevaricate ad libitum.  They can curse like sailors and live lives of sordid promiscuity - all with impunity.  If we dare to criticize them for their delirious attacks on us, they accuse us of gross iniquity and injustice.  The playing field is just not level.  It reminds me somewhat of Obama, Reid, Pelosi and Weiner.  Perhaps their courage and swagger are reinforced by the fact that they know that we would never stoop so low as to start a campaign to eradicate them.

I am also reminded of Willie Jessop's experience of being ejected from many a courtroom simply because he wore dangerous facial expressions.  So, if you want to dodge the wrath of the anti-polygamy crowd, maintain the moral high ground, and keep sweet facial expressions, but don't count on it doing you any good.

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