Guest editorial: When it comes to intolerance, the hypocrisy in Park City is tangible
Park City High School junior
Recently, my mother published a guest editorial regarding the Welcoming Schools program proposed in Park City. Her editorial explicitly states we should “teach our children to live by the Golden Rule” and that it should be applied “regardless of religion, color, gender, political affiliation or sexual orientation.” Who could oppose anti-bullying regardless of looks and beliefs? Many people, apparently.
After the publication, posted comments ridiculed not only her, but me as well. I want to stand up to the bullies in our community.
Rather than civilly debating the merits of my mother’s opinions, a PCHS parent patronizingly questioned both her medical credentials and Jewish heritage. Upon learning that my mother is a mere “orthodontist,” not an “MD,” this parent dismissed her extensive training in the area of biology as inadequate. Perhaps she is unaware that orthodontists complete two years of a medical school curriculum, two years in a general dental clinic, and another two to three years as an orthodontic resident. Before that, of course, there’s pre-med. If this is the example my classmates’ parents are setting at home, I question whether any anti-bullying program will work.
My mother was not the only target. Another “tolerant” adult commented: “for him to support organizations and ideologies that actively work to diminish and reverse what has been accomplished is frankly a slap in the face to the generations of men and women who have worked for the advancement of the LGBTQ community.” The “him” in his statement is me. Sir, as a conservative, I am not a gay traitor. In fact, as a conservative, I welcome the LGBTQ community along with all others (unlike your insistence to only welcome those with whom you agree). As a conservative, I fight for the equality of all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etcetera.
Frankly, I’m extremely angry. How dare you question my mother’s love? When my father died, she was there for me. When we made the big move to Utah, she was there for me. When I was vomiting from the bear spray attack targeting conservatives at PCHS on April 1, she was there for me. And when I was afraid to come out of the closet as gay, she was there for me. My mother said she did not care how I identified; I could be whatever I wanted to be because this is a free country, and she would fight to keep it that way.
I consider myself a tolerant person, but it is intolerable when adults disparage families raising children as they believe. You argue for “anti-bullying,” yet you bully those who disagree. You say my mother hates her own son, and that I hate myself. Yet I was attacked first for being part of Turning Point at PCHS and identifying as a conservative, and now again for not supporting a program that forces children and their families to not just tolerate, but “embrace” something they may not religiously or morally agree with.
The hypocrisy in this community is tangible. Since coming out as conservative, I have lost friends, have been attacked with bear spray, and have been derided by some adult “role models.” I, along with my friend (a transgender Republican), was isolated in Gay-Straight Alliance for my political beliefs. Another friend, the president of Turning Point at PCHS, was told online by an adult he is a “white supremacist” and is “in the wrong town.” A classmate who expressed her right-leaning opinions was called a “slave owner.” And, my mother, who has protected me and defended her beliefs, has been shamed by cowardly adults tucked behind their keyboards.
Anti-bullying is not accusing someone of being “pro-bully” and then bullying them yourself. It is standing up — not being a bystander but being an ally. That is what I am doing, and I hope you will all join me in the fight to end the hatred infiltrating our community.
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In the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, PJ Falten has been thinking about the “fallen heroes who gave their lives so that something like last Wednesday could never happen on sacred ground. … What would they have thought?”