Sunday, June 18, 2006

Towner vs. Ridgway

A couple of months ago at a family gathering in my home I became upset with my sister-in-law. I had just laid down with a headache, but try as I might, I could not ignore the conversation on immigration that was taking place in my front room.

I mentioned something about a "message of prejudice" in the press and my sister-in-law quickly brought up the "liberal press" sound-bite. "That's a lie!" I sharply responded.

The truth is I do believe that their are many liberal thinking people in the press. I believe they have become so through years of first hand experience, and by having a front row seat. However, with my admittance to this fact, let me also share this truth. Partisan conservatives Republicans not only own the air waves, they have dominating ownership in the written press as well (especially in Utah). Understanding this fact, and by telling myself that I should have one day of peace from my goal of re-establishing a balanced, two-Party system in Utah, I became angry with my sister-in-law and left the room. When she tried to apologize a few days later I refused to forgive her.

Towner vs. Ridgway has become a blogger's feeding frenzy. Although some high-ranking Republican officials have tried to portray Mike Ridgway as "Crazy", "Dangerous" and "Unstable", it has been Mark Towner who has been heavily criticized by Blogs like SLCSPIN, and UTAH CONSERVATIVE. SLCSPIN has been very vocal about Towner's anonymity fears, and UTAH CONSERVATIVE (UC), supposedly posted a letter that seemed to suggest that Towner's lawsuit was more of a tactical move to keep Ridgway out of the Republican State Convention, than that of a man who truly feared for he and his family's well being. Proof that these posts ever existed has been shredded. UC pulled his entire blog saying that he was retiring, only to be "reborn" within the day. The rant from Towner has also disappeared off of his blog, Political Spyglass (that is if my source is telling me the truth, which he has always done, so far). Then, SLCSPIN asked the question, did Towner threaten UC somehow? Is this guy threatening bloggers?

While all of this was happening I decided to call Mile Ridgway after listening to him speak during a radio interview. He sounded more passionate than crazy and I decided that I wanted to know him better. What I discovered is that Mike Ridgway can talk, and talk, and talk. If he where a US Senator he would be the go to guy if you wanted to perform a filibuster. What I also found out is that Mike, like any other person who is passionate, will argue with you if he feels you are wrong, no matter what the situation, or who you are. He reminds me of my friend, Tom DeLisi, who would chase angry customers (usually native Utahns) into the parking lot, not in any attempt to physically harm them, but in his attempt to understand why they could not understand his Brooklyn N.Y. logic. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. But we understood that it was Tom's back east, straight up, personality, that made him who he is, and if anyone had a problem with him it was usually because they where not as direct as he, and because their intolerance put up a wall. I also discovered that if you respect Mike Ridgway, he is a more than willing to do the same.


Anyway, all this drama, all these questions, and me wondering why I don't just keep out of it. But then, the opportunity arose for me to see for myself the truth. It was all too tempting for me to pass up. Mike called, told me about the trail, and I went with the idea in mind that I would say it how I saw it.

Please, let me warn you, this may not be the post you were expecting (if it is what you were expecting, than I want to meet you).


I could tell you that I believe the judge made a mistake. I could tell you why I believe the judge made a great decision. But what I really want to say is that both of these men have value, and both of these men have been intolerant with each other. I could go on with examples, I could point fingers, but what I really need to say is this, I understand how this could happen, sometimes its more important to be right than do what's right. I can see that I am just as guilty. One of you has been on top of the food chain for too long, and the other may have a tendency to get under people's skin, but this can be true of anyone (except of course, my mom).

Neither one of you will every feel true peace until you can forgive the other. I know that Mike is a man a faith, I'm guessing that Towner is one too (if not, I apologize for assuming), but take just a moment and think about this. Politics should bring people together, not pull them apart. We need not always agree, but we can respect each other. Please read 1 John 3:15, that is, if you believe in the Bible. Then ponder this situation and ask yourself, is the direction I'm going with this, worth it?

Know that tonight I am praying for both of you, and that I hope you will find a better way. If not, I really believe that Mike should stay away from any politics that concerns the Towners, and vice-versa. I also hope that Mark will come to understand that being powerful within a Party should not make one a ruler, it should bring you to the understanding that you are a servant, in service of your fellow man.


I need to thank both of you. Tomorrow, I will call my sister-in-law. I will tell her I am sorry, that I forgive her, and that I hope that she can do the same.

And thats all I have to say about that.

19 comments:

Jesus said...

"...this may not be the post you were expecting (if it is what you were expecting, than I want to meet you)."

This post was what I was expecting.

give me a break said...

What is going on Rob? Trying for a tax exempt status? The Reverend Miller? or in your case the Bishop Miller? Take a stance man, choose a side, wait these guys are Republicans who cares if they eat each other alive? If I wanted a sermon I would go to church. One of the nice things about living in this country I don't have to go to church. Churches preach goodness and the like but are all for dissing those who don't follow their unique tilt on what their religion belives. Know what I think, God is fed up with us as a bunch of idiots. He is fed up with people who discriminate because of race, fed up with people who use His name for war, the killing of people who worship him under a different name. More have been killed in the name of God than anyother excuse. Ask for forgivness because you want it not because of God. No more sermons please.

Anonymous said...

This is actually refreshing. Someone who actually saw the value of two men and explained truth instead of ripping them apart.

I'm blown away.

Give me a break? You never where a Bob Marley fan where you?

And Jesus was here?

Rob said...

I have picked a side, I am a Democrat!

I agree that forgiveness must be sought, not forced.

Thanks give me a break, will you forgive me?

give me a break said...

Yes you are forgiven and I must seek refuge from my angst. I agree with you on many issues and not on some. Isn't the U.S. a great place? We can talk about our differences and no one gets lynched, lately anyway, and agree to disagree. Thank you in advance for your understanding and hope for all. No ill feelings from this side of the debate.

The Amicus' Friend said...

Seriously...
Why do you care about this?
I get that Towner is a dork and the Ridgway is a whackado, but ...

Let them keep behaving this way. The UT GOP is desperate to self destruct and you're acting like you want to be its therapist. Go forth and make the world a better place. Quit free advertising for those that are fighting over the best way to screw it all up for the rest of us.

Rob said...

Hi Amicus! LikeI said, This is all I have to say about this. This will be the last Towner, Ridgway post on The Utah Amicus.

Rob said...

That is, unless one of them bites the other's ear off.

Mike Ridgway, Salt Lake City said...

I'm jealous, Rob. Jesus never posts comments on my blog.

Rob said...

No, but I linked you!

Mike Ridgway, Salt Lake City said...

Well, Rob, you may not be bigger than the Beatles but I definitely think you're bigger than Jesus. So thanks.

(Funny how hard it is to refer to a non-deitous Jesus in jest and not feel like you're blaspheming.)

Senor X said...

Rob,

Nice insight, great topic, but at the end of the day.....let these two fight it out like both of my girlfriends did back in high school.

Have you ever tried explaing to a cockaroach why YOU are superior? Don't waste another breath on the two republicans....unless your breath has raid in it :)

Anonymous said...

You are a good person Rob.

Mike and Mark--get a life and get a job!!!! Stop destroying everyone else - we are so tired of your crap.

Signed, GOP Faithful

Mike Ridgway, Salt Lake City said...

Pray tell, Bishop Rob, what should I ask forgiveness for? For being the speed bump in a hit and run accident, perhaps?

Certainly not for having truthfully and respectfully exercised my right to political free speech at a political gathering of Republican decision makers, can we agree?

Mike Ridgway, Salt Lake City said...

Oh, and the other question. How would I communicate my willingness to forgive or to ask forgiveness given a court order that bars me from communicating directly or indirectly with the Towners and their many daughters?

Anonymous said...

Forgiveness is in the heart, move forward Mike, you have more important work than worrying about Towner.

john marlor said...

Men, men don't give up the fight, keep fighting each other until one cries Uncle. Show your resolve and don't give in to those who would have you concentrate on something important. Keep showing how no quarter will be given let alone asked for. Come on let the 2M boys fight it out...water baloons at 20 paces, green jello with carrots at 5 paces, punch, the drinking kind, and cookies across the table.

Senor X said...

Let Ridgeway and Towner fight it out down at the Sandy Station................NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO.....NOT DURING LADIES MUDWRESTLING NIGHT, but how about during friday night's " Republican Cockfighting Championship"......I know my cousin PePe, who is not illegal, but his Rooster is, is looking for a new "cock" after his Rooster was rounded up and deported by the Utah Minuteman Project and John Jacob.

aaron in bountiful. said...

Ridgway,
Seriously, just take the high road, dude. Save some face for you and your family while you can. They are all you have when all is said and done. Thanks Rob, great post!