I have a confession to make. I voted for Bill Clinton. Twice. Actually, to be accurate I supported and voted for Paul Tsongas in the primary in 1992, but when he was defeated, I stepped onto the Clinton bandwagon and helped to defeat George Bush. (Again, let’s be accurate, I was voting in Utah, and so my actual vote was translated into Republican electoral votes, so I did not technically help to defeat George Bush, but, my friends, it was a psychic victory, so I claim a part in it.) This is somewhat of a sore point for my conservative family. My dad growls that I’m cancelling his votes, my mom tries not to think about it too much. My extended family thinks I’m a little bit crazy…probably because I’ve been single for just too darn long.
But I digress, here’s the point. Let me tell you what happened on election night 1992. I was sitting in the basement of T-Hall in Deseret Towers–BYU freshman dorms–full of zeal and excitement at the democratic process leading to a Democratic victory. Incidentally, I was the only one in the room that was feeling particularly excited. Doomsday predictions were coming at me from every corner, and being younger and more salty, I was ‘fessing up to my political beliefs and answering with support for the Democratic platform. I’d like to think I was being polite and calm, but frankly I can’t remember. I went back up to my dorm room when the election had been called, and found a picture of steaming dog crap on my door.
That pretty much sums up my impression of being a Democrat at BYU. Taking a lot of crap. What is it about politics that makes people resort to “discourse” that they would never otherwise engage in? What is it about being a part of an overwhelming political majority that makes it seem okay to rudely invalidate someone else’s minority-political opinion? (And I know this happens the other way around on other campuses. Some of my conservative friends really took a lot of hypocritical abuse from liberals on the Harvard Law School campus. That intolerance angers me just as much as my treatment at BYU.) Why, when we are celebrating the learning potential that free speech fosters, do we feel that silencing others is an appropriate response? Finally, someone please tell me that things are changing at BYU….