Although I didn’t vote for him, and I still don’t like the fact that he’s using oxygen better served in the lungs of a feral hog, I didn’t go downtown to protest President Donald Trump’s visit to Utah.
Why? Because my wife wanted me to fix the sink in the bathroom. Also, I had a deadline for work. More important, I couldn’t be bothered to waste my time.
Calm down. If you were one of those waving a sign outside the Utah Capitol on Monday, I’m not saying that you wasted your time. It’s your time. Spend it your way. Just don’t tell me how to spend mine.
The only people who could have made me go downtown for that event are my wife, my top editor, Jennifer Napier-Pearce, Salt Lake Tribune owner Paul Huntsman’s mom, Karen, and a police SWAT team. In that order.
However, according to someone I consider a good friend, the fact that I refused to accompany him to the demonstration makes me either a traitor to America or at the very least politically immature.
Maybe I am. I’ve participated in three demonstrations in my life, all of which ended badly. For me. The person or decision I was protesting wasn’t affected a bit.
I took part in an anti-war rally during the early 1970s because a girl I liked wanted me to attend. We went. We marched. We shouted. And Salt Lake City police towed my car. Our protest not only didn’t stop the war, it didn’t even slow down local parking enforcement.
When Salt Lake City refused to allow The Doors to perform in 1969 after frontman Jim Morrison was arrested for exposing himself in Florida, I was indignant. I heard there was to be a protest downtown. I went. It was about as exciting as church and accomplished nothing.
Finally, I went to the anti-George W. Bush rally spearheaded in August 2005 by then-Mayor Rocky Anderson, who believed the commander in chief was a war criminal.
By then I was older and wiser about public demonstrations. I understood that the major accomplishment of crowd protests amounted to nothing more than inconveniencing those not involved. I went that time only because my boss told me I had to go.
The protesters screeched and yelled about what a horrible war criminal Bush was, accusing him of offenses so terrible that they would gladly cheer his demise. That was about it.
My distaste for public protests spans the spectrum of political debate. I wouldn’t show up to wave a sign protesting/supporting the legalization of marijuana, taking away guns, chasing off immigrants, abolishing/stepping up capital punishment, or the criminalizing of any sexual act that wasn’t specifically intended to produce a baby.
It doesn’t mean that I’m politically immature because I won’t try to halt the presidential motorcade by wearing only an orange Ronald McDonald wig and an athletic supporter with various misspelled insults painted on my body.
Nor does it mean that I’m a traitor to America because I don’t show up at NFL games and shout insults at players who take a knee during the national anthem.
I just hate crowds. They’re loud, densely packed and filled with distraught people waiting for the slightest provocation to throw a tantrum and some rocks.
So I make my voice heard about what I don’t like by joining the largest protest in America — the one where I stay home and vote.