Helping Shape A Meet And Greet
By: Josh Cameron | Our Voice Contributor
So no shit, there I was. The start of any good GTH3 story. If you aren’t familiar with hash house harriers (not weed), well you haven’t truly lived. Anyway, so no shit there I was… I was at a meet and greet for Utah’s state House district 24 and Senate district 2. I saw Shireen Ghorbani (one of my favorite people of all time) there. I spent a few minutes chatting her up and realized that a friend of mine is her volunteer coordinator. I spoke to her about the Our Voice app. She is running a pretty large campaign which may push the limits of the app in it’s current form simply because the app is meant to help those with little money and little power to amass any large amounts of money. Basically if you have a desire to run for office, we want to help you out.
So I spoke to Shireen for a bit, I spoke to Tom Taylor for a while as well. Tom is a robotics engineer who is running for CD4, Mia Love’s district; my district. So a science nerd he is, and I’ll be damned if that doesn’t make him a man after my own heart. I enjoyed some fellowship with Tom while also talking politics. The takeaway, Tom is awesome. Feel free to call bullshit and look him up. I also had some time to talk about my own run for local school board, Granite district 6.
Later I find myself next to Shireen Ghorbani’s volunteer coordinator, Erin Finney (a dude who is as passionate as I am, who doesn’t always see eye to eye with me, which means we have online spats, but I still love the dude.) And who intercepts us with a hello? Our Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. Sim is nowhere near a terrible human being, and yet I think he sided with terrible human beings in the case of Patrick Harmon. He called the killing justified.. more on that in a bit.
Sim Gill steps out in front of me, and says, “Hi.” Instantly my mind goes to Mr. Harmon. Erin says something to him that escapes me, but I specifically recall saying, “I’m still salty over Patrick Harmon,” and with that one statement his smile faded. What I didn’t realize is how damn salty I still was. Perhaps that’s because I didn’t just watch the video and I didn’t just comment, but I showed up to the Utah’s Against Police Brutality event,
held in honor of Mr. Harmon, and we called for Gill to resign. Justified he called it. Why don’t you watch the video (quite graphic, btw) and get back to me on Twitter or below in the comments with your thoughts on whether or not it was justified.
I kind of blew up on this guy, a Democrat. Perhaps that makes you mad at me, that I got into an extremely passionate argument with a Democrat, and let him know in no uncertain terms how upset I was with him. Perhaps that makes you laugh. Either way, I surprised myself at how pissed I still was over
this bullshit acquittal of obvious state approved police murdering.
Anyway, I’m going off on Gill, not screaming at the guy, but raised voice and making him uncomfortable. Interestingly enough, he engaged, and matched my passion and tone. I find this very interesting. This, to me, says this is a guy who wants to fight. A guy who wants to stand up for victim’s rights. Why?
I told him how bullshit his call for it to be a justified killing, and he shot right back that it is the statute that needs to change, because by Utah law it was justified, and he seemed to spit that word ‘justified’ out like it left a bad taste in his mouth. I then shot right back, “And how the hell do you expect it to change if you don’t challenge it?”
While I expected him to stop and collect himself, perhaps think of some bullshit mealy mouthed answer, he immediately shot back with, “If I filed charges they’d throw me out of court.” To which my immediate retort was, “GOOD! Let them! Then hold a press conference. Address the citizens and say, ‘I watched the
video, as I suspect you did too. I find it hard to call this justified, but by Utah law I have to. If you disagree with that, maybe call your local representative and let them know so we can change the law!’ ”. I continued, “The court of public opinion is on your side. If you don’t challenge it, it will never be challenged and the
statute will never change.” He seemed upset that I was upset with him, but it appeared my words hit home.
So we had a heated exchange for about 10 minutes. At the end of it I shook his hand and thanked him for engaging with me, especially since I didn’t make it easy.
Lets breakdown my behavior. Maybe you think I’m an asshole, and perhaps I am, but I am an asshole with a purpose in that case. So I yelled… I passionately debated with our county DA. How often do you think politicians get intelligently yelled at by leftists? I suspect they get unintelligibly yelled at by right
wingers all day long. I suspect they get pressure from the right whenever they receive pressure. So naturally, if they only get pressure from the right, where do you think they’ll move
their positions? You guessed it, to the right.
I didn’t attack Gill with ad hominem. I didn’t swear at him, though I may have used a few swear words in describing how I felt about the cold-blooded murder of Mr. Harmon. And at the end of it all, I shook the man’s hand.
Why is that important? We all want to be right.
I was aware, while near outright yelling at this man, that I was damn near the line, if not stepping right on it. Not because I said anything that didn’t need to be said, but because of the venue. That said, can an ex-con go anywhere without the whole world reminding him/her that he/she is an ex-con? How about an immigrant or even a brown person in general? Should a politician have any more privileges?
It is important to be aware of when we may overstep or overstay our welcome. A simple social nicety can help smooth things over, while in no way negating anything we said. I also suspect that in the near future there will be another shitty act committed by some coward with a badge – by no means am I
calling all cops cowards, but definitely those who shoot people in the back while they’re running away. I also suspect that will frustrate Mr. Gill, as he has shown me that he is a fighter. He has shown me he has the guts to match the tone and ferocity of that of a mad-as-hell leftist. And I hope that when that day
comes, and he is backed into a corner and is forced to follow the letter of the law that acquits another coward, that he takes my advice and hold’s a press conference.
Maybe you think that is a waste of time. Perhaps it is. However, I have seen in 2016, a man who looks in
no way charismatic, who talks in no way charismatic, but tells it like it is and the people overwhelmingly love him. His name is Bernie Sanders. You may not like him, but I bet you’ll find it hard not to respect him. Hell, even Ted Cruz respects the man, and Ted is supposedly the Zodiac Killer…
Why am I compelled to write about this account? As I mentioned earlier, I suspect many of our politicians get yelled at by the Right leaning political voices, but rarely the left who find it unseemly. We live in extreme income and wealth inequality, Democrats overwhelmingly stand for social liberalism but with
economic austerity born from right wing think tanks, and it is hurting every single part of this nation. Every part!
If these politicians don’t hear left sided complaints in ways that they can’t easily dismiss, perhaps this will make them think twice about dismissing them. Perhaps this will help neutralize the
threat of the right wing scream bot filled with lack of substance, because while I may have raised my voice, I articulated my point well and made it hard for him to disagree with me.
Leave a lasting impression. Donald Trump may be a buffoon and this may be a simple example, but he seems most influenced by the last person in the room. Even if you aren’t the last person in the room, you can be the last person with a strong enough argument that it forces the politician you confronted to not easily forget your words.
This is what we need more of. This is how we hold our politicians accountable.
We can do so by voting, by protesting (which in a manner of speaking is what I did), and by running for office. We need all of these being executed in order to get real change.
Fight for change. Let politicians know you’re angry, but you’re also intelligent and woe be unto them if
they dismiss you solely based on the vehemence of your argument not being presented in more polite tone.
We have too much at stake to play nice. The time has passed to play nice. Now it’s time to put on our big boy and big girl pants, and fight. Use your voice, use your abilities and use whatever platform you can muster to fight for it, but fight we must. We need change now. We can afford no more setbacks.
Only we can save ourselves. Only you can save yourself.
Go save yourself. Go yell at a politician.