Politics in the Hospice

My mother is recovering from a broken hip in a rehabilitation center in American Fork, Utah. I visited her late yesterday afternoon before going to a Utah Valley party for the ACLU of Utah.

Do you like the ACLU? I asked her.

No, she said.

Why not? I asked.

Because they’re always going after BYU, she answered.

I don’t remember them ever going after BYU, I said.

They’re always so negative, she added. They’re against everything.

Like the Jim Crow laws in the South? I asked. Like segregation?

So I left for the party where I had a good time with other negative people, one of whom, Steve Goates, a BYU chemist, told me this story about his neighbor, a lifelong Democrat:

About to die, the neighbor asked for a form to file a change in political affiliation. He wanted to file as a Republican.

How can you possibly even consider that? his family asked.

Better for one of them to die than one of us, was his answer.

A little later Fred Geddicks, from the BYU Law School, heard me say that my mother thought the ACLU always went after BYU.

Tell her, he said, that in West Virginia a Mormon student with a state scholarship was denied a 2-year leave to go on an LDS mission. The ACLU stepped in and won the case for him.

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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