The Safest State for the GOP?
I'm very happy to report that Bush's visit did not go unprotested. The numbers of the protesters range from 500 (CNN link above) to 2000 (AP). The Mayor of Salt Lake City, Russ "Rocky" Anderson, personally called for a "vigorous" protest.
And most cheering to me: this photo, taken by a friend of a Feminist Mormon Housewives commenter, shows a very LDS-looking woman waving a sign reading Mormons Against Bush. Heartwarming.
[Note: I've been wandering around the LDS blogs to try to gauge the Church's response to the hurricane. The widely linked July 2005 New Orleans Times-Picayne article on New Orleans's lack of a real evacuation plan--see Brad DeLong's site for the fullest excerpt--prominently features the Mormons as having the fullest private contingency plans. I commend the LDS sites for not having or even linking to any triumphalist posts about the Church's efficacy. However, this seemly reticence leaves me without any information about the Church's response. Instead, right-wing political sites were quicker to champion the LDS humitarian services: from Hedgehog, from Free Republic. The latter links to every possible article. One of the most telling passages is this factual bit from a Meridian Magazine article:
President Conlin had also developed a warning system and evacuation plan for the New Orleans stake which was put into place this past weekend. This stake has an automated phone system so that the stake president put in a prerecorded message on Saturday and again on Sunday morning that rang into 1700 homes. The message was to evacuate the city. If they weren’t leaving their homes, they were given an 800 number so they could report where they were going to me.This sort of centralized planning should have been going on, on some level, in the government. Whether a centralized plan from government could have commanded respect and trust as the Church did is another matter.]
The evacuation plan called for people to go to three different stake centers—two in Mississippi and one in Lousiana that were near the three major arteries that lead out of the city. A member knew which one to go based on the highway that was closest to him."