The BYU Daily Universe on Monday stated that it had received a lot of letters to the editor regarding Vice President Cheney and implied that many of them could be classified as hate mail, many of which were followed up with correspondences by the same submitters "pleading that we won't publish the first."
I used to think that only the craziest of people would fashion themselves conspiracy theorists, claiming outlandish things with no proof. It seems that for some on both the left and the right that this is becoming de rigueur (the left is more cacophonous right now only because a Republican is in the White House). Such theories and blathering have high entertainment value. But one of the huge problems with America is our insatiable appetite for entertainment. Juxtaposed with our inability to be civil in so many cases, this indicates huge problems for our future, including political decisions being made by those who can scream the loudest. And that may not be the worst problem to develop out of this sad state of affairs.
One of the quickest reactions by many against the Cheney visit was that BYU was showing its true political colors by not inviting any Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat) was invited to speak at the Law School commencement in 2004. He has been invited to speak again at BYU, and the invitation was extended before the Cheney invitation was given.
Considering the political stance (non-political) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it is disingenuous for people to speak out against BYU and the Church for the Cheney visit. The church stated:
First, the Church prohibits any Church leader from endorsing a candidate in the name of the Church. Second, the Church bans the use of its chapels for party political purposes and also refuses to allow the distribution of Church membership rolls to anyone, including politicians and candidates. It also carefully avoids telling its members for whom they should vote. Neither does it tell elected Latter-day Saint officials how they should vote.
Far more important than whether or not Cheney lied, whether he still profits from Halliburton contracts, or whether he holds weekly interviews with the devil or Gordon B. Hinckley is that we can maintain a civil discourse in our society. Some have been able to. Far too many have not. It is ironic that most people's opinions of Cheney fall somewhere on one extreme or the other--either they hate him or they love him.
My opinion is different. I think he should never have been vice president (I didn't vote for George W Bush either time), but he is. I therefore respect the office. And I can give my reasons for not liking him as a politician without resorting to invective and theory.
If we can't learn this fact, then we're sunk. As Abraham Lincoln warned us, we are potentially our own worst destroyers.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.