One man in Colorado has changed the national paradigm and the message has carried to Utah valley. Victor Head, a plumbing contractor from Boulder, Colorado, opposed Colorado’s liberal gun control measures through his organization, Pueblo Freedom and Rights. With assistance from the National Rifle Association and concerned Colorado citizens in the state’s first ever recall election, he unseated liberal senators John Morse and Angela Giron in their push for citizen non-protection. The nation has a new example of The Power of One.
In the mid-1950s journalist Willis E. Stone almost singlehandedly piloted what would have been the Constitution’s 23rd Amendment to the floors of Congress. First proposed in his newspaper column in 1944, it was known as the Liberty Amendment, designed to restore checks and balances and get government out of private business. That currently stalled amendment, approved by nine states—Utah is not yet one of them, waits to restore financial stability when we want it badly enough.
In both these situations, brave individuals stood up to the bullies that kill freedom, be they individuals, groups, or government. The bully war escalates today as constitutional freedoms fall before illegal executive orders and Supreme Court decisions on topics from immigration to gun control to economic bailouts. Conservatives across the country are being bullied into silence for their views, while liberal opinions are touted at will. Why? One reason is that conservatives let themselves be pushed around.
Here in Utah we are still somewhat sheltered from the tirades of progressive bullies. The relative peace of this county draws many here to retire or raise families; hence, the nickname Happy Valley. The term denotes contempt from some, heartfelt gratitude from others, myself included.
Only Pollyanna could believe that our relative calm will continue. Activist commotions have begun—Provo’s Gay Pride event of Saturday, 21 September, is an example. While we are obliged to respect the rights of others, diversity is negative when it encourages those who plan to abolish the values we cherish. Leaders in the gay rights movement, such as activist Masha Gessen in her speech to the Sydney Writer’s Festival in May 2012, state the ultimate intention of the Gay Rights movement is to abolish marriage altogether. (View her video on YouTube April 23, 2013) Such movements strike at the heart of conservative Utah values of family and fidelity, not to mention common sense.
Can we keep the standards we cherish in Utah County? That’s partly up to us, and that’s where The Power of One comes in. While what we can do is harder, what we must not do is obvious: we must not be bullied into silence on our views and values. We must speak out in defense of the things that matter to us.
In 1553, Frenchman Etienne de la Boetie wrote “The Politics of Obedience: Discourse on Voluntary Servitude”. It reads like a 2013 conservative advice column. He said none have power to oppress us unless we give them that power. The eyes to spy on us come from us; the arms to beat us are borrowed from ourselves; the feet to trample us wear homegrown boots. How can enemies assail us if they have no cooperation from us? He declares we can cast off tyranny simply by refusing to concede; those who resolve to be servants no more are at once freed. To topple a tyrant, simply support him no more.
Back to the bullying of conservative views and The Power of One: we are bullied into further silence because we remain silent. We are victims no more when we clearly, calmly, and without rancor state our views and hold to them. It begins at home, with one—you; me. When we complain about the state of things, let us remember Boetie: “Resolve to serve no more and you are at once freed.” The power of one voice, repeatedly heard, has the force to transform.