Now that the artificially manufactured and orchestrated furor over Senator Chris Buttars' recent remarks about homosexuality leading to "pig sex" seems to have abated, it's an appropriate time to look at the various "unscientific" media polls being conducted by various outlets. These polls are considered "unscientific" because the only controls established are that only one vote per IP is permitted, and votes can be cast from outside of Utah.
The scorecard? While one poll shows disapproval of Chris Buttars by a narrow margin, two others show approval by a wide margin.
(1). KTVX Channel 4 (ABC), which is the most "Gentile" of Salt Lake's broadcast news outlets and appeals to a more liberal demographic, is asking the following question:
What do you think of the Utah Senate leadership's actions regarding Senator Chris Buttars?
-- It was appropriate: 18.6 percent
-- It wasn't enough: 56.2 percent
-- It was too harsh: 25.2 percent
Just over 56 percent clearly disapprove of Buttars. No running total of the number of respondents is displayed.
(2). KSTU Channel 13 (FOX), which appeals to a more conservative demographic, is asking the following question:
Senator Chris Buttars has been removed from a judicial committee he chaired after saying gay activists are "probably the greatest threat to America going down." What do you think about the censure?
-- Good decision: 25.5 percent (488 responses)
-- Bad decision; more should have been done to censure Senator Buttars: 32.7 percent (627 responses)
-- Bad decision; too harsh: 41.8 percent (802 responses)
Less than 33 percent clearly disapprove of Buttars. 1917 total responses to date
(3). And now the Provo Daily Herald is running their own poll, asking a much more straightforward "Yes-No" question:
Should Sen. Chris Buttars have been silenced and removed from committee posts for his recent remarks on gay rights?
-- Yes: 43.33 percent (52 votes)
-- No: 56.67 percent (68 votes)
Only 43 percent clearly disapproved of Buttars. Number of Voters: 120
The Daily Herald is a better poll because it forces respondents to pick one of two sides, avoiding that intermediate option. Yet the results also indicate a strong possibility that a majority of those respondents in the other polls who believed that Buttars was dealt with appropriately were actually pro-Buttars, meaning that while they agreed with his ideology, they didn't agree with his delivery.
And that's the whole crux of the opinion column accompanying the Daily Herald poll. They defend his fundamental right to promote a return to traditional cultural values, saying that making drastic changes to America's basic family structure is too disruptive, and that disrupting the ancient standards of marriage -- and government's legitimate economic interest in reproduction -- will insidiously harm the nation over many years, even decades or centuries. The falling birthrate in Europe, and the corresponding Muslim invasion of that continent, is a flagrant example.
But the Daily Herald maintains that in a democracy, politicians are supposed to be liable for their remarks. A lawmaker who never suffers such consequences wouldn't be a legislator, he'd be a king or a dictator. While an elected official doesn't need to assent to all ideas, he has a duty to be respectful of valid views, even when he disagrees with them. Legislative leaders obviously have the right to discipline a member for inflammatory remarks because it goes to credibility. If he cannot bring people together but rather increases polarization, he simply won't be effective. And that hurts Utah.
Defenders of traditional norms should want their leaders to display the time-honored values of civility and reasoned discourse. Traditional values must be defended with careful precision, compassion and subtlety. Sensationalism must be avoided. Unfortunately, Chris Buttars failed to do so. But the Daily Herald doesn't think he should be censored, unless it's by the voters in his district.
What opponents of Chris Buttars also need to understand is that they cannot shame or bully the people who support him into changing their minds. If you want to convince us that gay marriage should be legal, first convince us that marriage was intended to be a fundamental constitutional right. And while you're at it, ditch the argument that "rights cannot be voted on by the people". How do you think the Bill of Rights came into being?