[Loose Lips] Senate President John Valentine called it a "slight breach of decorum." He was referring to a comment Sen. Chris Buttars made yesterday during Senate floor debate on a bill addressing school equalization. During discussion, Buttars stretched a metaphor his colleague, that Draper Republican Sen. Howard Stephenson, had started--"the ugly baby bill."
Except by now, people's jaws are dropping all over the country, having read how Buttars called the bill a "black baby. A dark and ugly thing." The blogs and other media are all over it. Go here and here and here just for starters.
After a short recess yesterday, and a complaint from Sen. Ross Romero (D-Salt Lake), Valentine announced that Buttars would address the body. He apologized for the remark.
There aren't many ways to interpret the comment, really. Talk jocks and rhetoricians will pounce all over it today guessing about Buttars' meaning and intentions. State NAACP Director Jeanetta Williams isn't terribly satisfied with the senator's apology, right now. Romero said yesterday after Buttar's apology he would accept it.
The world is swimming with public figures who say classless things, shocking things, really awful things. Then they apologize, and expect us to all move on. It worked for radio shock jock Don Imus, after all. Last year, following his infamous "nappy-headed hos" remark on the air critics figured his career had tanked. He took a brief hiatus and now he's back. Whoosh. Nothing ever happened.
Expect more dissection of Buttars' speech in the next few days. The West Jordan Republican has built his reputation in Utah as the master of sloppy grammar (never met a double negative he didn't like) and vehemently anti-gay legislation. Some people will simply step back today and shrug their shoulders. "What do you expect," they will say. "It's Chris Buttars."
Well yes. It is Chris Buttars. And that's why we can take his remarks for what they were: cold and racist. It's like this: Human beings who fuel themselves on hate and bigotry betray themselves sooner or later by their language. People who respect others and at least try to live in a world of color and diversity simply do not talk the way Chris Buttars did on the Senate floor yesterday. They don't think of themselves as better than others; their language reflects who they are.
Language is raw. It's visceral. People who understand that don't toss it around lightly.
So the critics can wrap up their analysis in pretty paper and ribbon, they can guess Buttars' motivations and even give him a pass for, as he said it letting his "brain run ahead of his mouth."
In the end, racist is as racist does. His own language painted his true persona more than any gay activist or Democratic opponent ever could.
E-mail your feelings to the man at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, you can let his boss know how you feel. That would be John Valentine. His email address is: email@example.com (Holly Mullen)