If you don’t live under a rock with a blanket over your head and your hands clapped over your ears, you’ve probably heard about the nonsense going on in the Utah Senate. We’re in an uproar – again – over yet another outlandish, biased, and downright inappropriate statement uttered by Senator how-does-he-keep-getting-reelected Chris Buttars.
Adding to his controversial opinions that Brown vs. The Board of Education was “wrong,” and people should only celebrate Christmas in December (even if you’re Jewish, Muslim or otherwise affiliated), Buttars has now stated that gays are right up there with extremist Islamic terrorist groups as a threat to America.
Okay, so it’s obvious the old guy isn’t making a lot of sense. He’s a relic of an era in which schools were segregated, gays were imprisoned, and dinosaurs roamed the earth. But folks are arguing in his defense, “Why shouldn’t he be allowed to practice his right to free speech? He’s an American!”
Well, why can’t you joke about having a bomb in an airport, or shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and call it free speech? It actually isn’t that different, especially when you’re supposedly a representative of the People. When you’ve been elected to a position that grants you power, you have a responsibility to keep the peace, not instigate separatism. Especially because it’s costing lots of valuable time and taxpayer money to repair all the damage this guy does with his mouth. There are plenty of non-elected people who can piss people off for free and never even have to do damage control. For instance, the Neo Nazis, the KKK and the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas (though they’ve become quite the embarrassment to Topekans). Who needs Buttars when we already have them?
Like any American citizen, Buttars is responsible for his opinions and his words. Unlike most other American citizens, he represents not just himself, but part of our state. Those of us in Utah who have to put up with him being in such headlines as “Utah Senator’s Forced Apology to NAACP Prompts Eyerolls and Muttering” really don’t feel we’re being properly represented.
Those who don’t agree with desegregation and/or gay rights might be willing to throw legislative time and dwindling taxpayer money at all the problems he causes, but the rest of us would just prefer that Buttars learn to keep his offensive statements to himself so we can spend the money on more important things. Like Higher Education.