Wednesday, August 4, 2010

106 Trombones

A couple of weeks ago, on July 24th, I attended an early morning parade through the streets of downtown Salt Lake City. Despite the fact that the parade celebrated an event (the “discovery” of the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 by Brigham Young) inexorably linked to the Mormon Church there were a few floats and groups that were not overtly LDS-themed. Among these were synchronized motorcycle police from each of the several police forces that utilize motorcycle policemen. One of the policemen was obviously a woman, but she wore a cute little fake mustache to fit in.

There were several borderline-LDS themed groups; the most irksome of these were our major elected officials riding by in convertibles. There was Senator Hatch showing that, despite his advanced age, he can still wave without visible life support machinery. Senator Bennet was smiling despite the fact that his re-election never made it out of the republican state caucus, and so he is gone. Then the honorable Governor Gary Herbert rode by.

Everyone was languidly clapping for everyone. The heat was threatening 100F, and the sky was cloudless. Herbert smiled a smile only possible after years of practice, and a little coating of Vaseline on one’s front teeth. I just couldn’t help myself; I started yelling.

I could have yelled many things. If I had known ahead of time that I would be yelling I would have thought up something profound, or at least sensible. I did the best I could.

“Global warming is real!”

The Gov looked over at me and his smile flickered almost imperceptibly. The men in cheap suits and little white spiral-wired earphones looked unamusedly in my direction; one may have almost grabbed towards something near his armpit.

“Get your head out of the sand (yes I DID say "sand") and do what is best for humanity!”

The governor turned away, but several people in the crowd stared at me as if they wished to catch flying insects.

“Don’t ignore global climate change!” I yelled in finality at his car as he continued on down the road.

Then I noticed AYD and AOD. They were not amused. AYD slunk off to pretend she did not know me.

“What are you doing Dad?” asked AOD. “You are totally embarrassing me!”

She then stamped off to join her sister.

Later, after they realized they would have to ride home with me or walk, I had them alone in the car. I looked at them and attempted to arrange my eyebrows into a look of understanding and fatherly concern.

“I hope you’ve learned a valuable lesson” I said.

“What that our Dad is a complete embarrassment and that we shouldn’t go into public with him?” retorted AYD. “We’ve known –that- for years”

“No” I said. “That you can voice your opinion in public without shriveling up and dying”

"Embarrassment will not kill you” I continued “But sometimes silence can. You have a right to be heard by people elected to public offices that represent your interests. Sometimes you are given an unexpected opportunity to exercise that right. It is often worthwhile to try and take advantage of unexpected opportunity.”

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