By Their Works

Dad's SignIt has been a busy January. An impromptu trip to New York with unexpected political benefit, a nearly complete overhaul of the website, half-a-dozen speeches before groups and Rotaries, along with my recruitment by the Rotary HOC to do the website and business center for the 2007 Salt Lake Rotary International Convention. It has left little time for ruminations on my blog, but something happened today that warranted some notice.

Since my announcement, my father has been my biggest fan. He has confessed that he stays awake at night trying to come up with campaigning methods. He has served as driver in parades and mechanic in getting the ancient family motorhome functional for touring. Out of anyone involved, he has been the most consistent volunteer. I am lucky to be his son.

When my parents were starting out the family business, they exploited advertising wherever they could find it. The picture on this page is of their VW Bus with a handpainted sign across the top for the “Tutti Fruiti” juicer that was their product. It wasn’t long into the campaign that Dad got out the plywood and made an “Ashdown for Senate” sign that he proudly hung on his Ford pickup he drives around Bountiful, Utah. One of the most conservative cities in the state. The city I was born and raised in. The city I love.

Tonight I received an email from him.

Hi Peter,
I have run into either the opposition or just vandalism. I had the sign I made for your campaign on the top of my truck. I went to the grocery store and while doing the shopping someone broke the sign off. It was gone when I came out.

My father had his plywood sign vandalized and stolen. My 80-year-old father, who was born in Bountiful when it had less than 2,500 residents. My father, who lived in a chicken coop when Grandma accidentally burned down their house. My father, who survived the Great Depression. My father, who volunteered for dangerous submarine duty in WWII and was placed by fate on a supply ship instead. My father deserves more respect than this.

When I started this race, someone called for a boycott of my business XMission and it didn’t bother me. A few months later, someone threw a brick through a $1,300 15 foot window at the campaign office and I wrote it off as kids. This, however, this bothers me. I must be underestimating my incredible political threat for people to be so low in response.

I’ve heard all sorts of tales of political hatchet jobs from the local to the national. Some people have told me that I need to repeat these tales as fact connected to my opponent, but I refuse to. However, the beauty of what happens to me directly is that I have an avenue to turn around and report it. So keep it up chaps, I’ve got this shiny new technology that levels the playing field and presents you for what you are. Neither red nor blue, patriot or partisan, but a yellow coward who vandalizes the work of an 80-year-old American veteran.

My father closed his email with the following.

Maybe it should be made of steel.
Love, Dad

I couldn’t agree more.

16 thoughts on “By Their Works

  1. Pete,

    This event shows you how much your father cares about you and your ambitions. It also reveals how ugly politics can be. However, the fact that someone made an effort to break your father’s sign proves that people care enough to do something. Even though this was a negative act, politicians and candidates need to inspire people to act in someway. Hopefully, they’ll leave your family out of it when their effort is negative while including your family when it is positive.

  2. Dear Pete:

    I believe you are right, and I am glad you are a “threat”! However, it sounds like your Dad is a brave man, and it would not surprise me to hear in your next letter that the plywood sign has been replaced.

    Perhaps you can use this as a positive thing by promoting that your resolve is made of “steel” to unseat Orrin Hatch, and bring a two party systen back to Utah!

    We are looking forward to having you at our JJ Dinner on March 24th. There are 2 large rectangular bulletin boards in the room where we are having the dinner, and you would be free to use one of them. (That way we’ll only have to figure out what to do with the other one). Pictures, campaign things, whatever. We will also have a table for you to put give away things on, or whatever you choose. I will be up at the golf course most of that day setting up the silent auction, decorations, etc., or as soon as they will let me in.

    Culinary Concepts is donating a certificate for an ice sculpture valued at $250. that we will live auction for your campaign. (Michelle said the sculpture we will have at the dinner weighs 200 to 300lbs, so they will take care of that).

    My home phone # is: 435-787-8987 if any of your committee wants to get ahold of me.

    Lanta Rasmussen

  3. What a wonderful relationship you have with your father! He raised a good egg. Politics bring out the 5 year old having a tantrum in many people. Personally, I think it’s a good sign.

    I’ve been signing your praises! Hopefully you had some bucks thrown your way.


  4. Keep fighting Pete, these are the same type of people who are experts at stealing and dstroying Campaign Signs!

    Cordially Kris

  5. Pete,

    I think vandalism is not restricted to kids. I think the twenty something do more than their fair share. During the last election cycle several sign I had on my property supporting some Democratic candidates were removed. This strong Republican city even had members, acting as election judges, disparging a candidate from Ogden Valley. And a favorite trick seems to be disavowing malicious tricks and misstatements. Of course some of this occurred when Bennett senior, running against Thomas in 1948, denied their campaign had anything to do with the false picture of Thomas with a known communist. The tactis, as always is to distract the voter from thereal issues. Hope you canb send the “Philadelhia Lawyer” back to PA

  6. Anyone who wants change is always going to be disliked by those that fear it. From those of us who couldn’t do what you are doing, I’d like to say thank you for taking this on with all that comes with it.

  7. I think you’re looking at it all wrong. When a book is stolen from a library, it is–in a way–a great compliment to the author. The fact that someone’s willing to perform a desperate act to obtain an “Ashdown for Senate” sign seems to indicate that things are going well indeed. Congratulations!

  8. It’s unfortunate that some people seem to feel threatened by anyone who has a different point of view than they do. I can’t help but think that deep down, if they were really secure in their own beliefs, actions like this would not happen. Thanks, Pete, for your willingness to fight this battle. It needs to be fought.

  9. Do you think your candidacy has anything to do with Senator Stephensen’s stupid scheme to rob us of our right to vote for our own Senators by repealing the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? I do . . . . Keep at it, Pete. I keep tooting your horn to anyone who will listen (and some who won’t). Got one of your bumper stickers from whatever that place in California is called — but it’s black and white and hard to read. You may want to do something about that. I’ve also tried — futilely — to email the National Democratic Party seeking support for you. Have they come up with anything? Seems they’re too focused on trying to get Hillary elected (God forbid!)

  10. Dear Pete,
    The big lesson I’ve learned in the time I’ve spent embroiled in local politics is that, like it or not, the cliche is true – POLITICS IS PERSONAL. Folks will strike at what they perceive to be your tender parts with gusto, and call it a political strategy. However, this time, they weren’t perceptin’ so well. Any man who has persevered and prospered like your father is above the direct jab, as his comments so clearly demonstrate. And of course you are from the same mold!
    This year, I encountered some folks taking sharp aim at my family because I took a stand for freedom of religious expression on our town green, a move that surprised many of my liberal political allies, and ignited some anti-Semitism in our very Christian town. It was downright scary, and even my closest friends took one careful step back from me for fear of backlash. I found myself sobbing in my kitchen, wondering why I had taken a stand when it would have been so easy to just keep my mouth shut. But honestly? For me, being brave is waaay easier than keeping my mouth shut. And I know my family is up to the political pioneering that is necessary to get the job done – they’ve said so, even my 4 year old. We are going to keep taking a stand no matter how many times they try to take us down. We are building a family legacy of strength and accomplishment by remaining steadfast. I think you are too. Peace.

  11. I know Yard Signs and Banners are expensive, but try to buy more
    than you think you will need, because people like to knock them
    over and steal them.

  12. Dear Pete,
    As a life long Republican I wish you luck, however unfortunately the way I see it is the Republicans have turned into Democrates and the Democrates have become full blown Socialists.

  13. CMA, Can you contact me at
    Re the religious expression issue and anti semitism. I am Jewish and find that educating people in this particular state is a long grinding process.

    Sorry to use your site, Pete, but I know you encourage dialogue.
    AND the people who vandalize expecially during political races are very insecure. I had most of my campaign signs for issues that I believed in pulled out of my lawn last election cycle. Especially amendment 3. Weird that people are so threatened by the opposing view, especially in a society that espouses “Christian Values”. Sheryl

  14. I didn’t hear about the brick, and the sign theft on top of this makes me furious! Who in the heck even knows, or cares about that guy you are running against? The dude who didn’t even grow up here or lives here currently.

    It’s really low of who ever did these things, and even more pathetic if there really is that level of animosity towards the political process and a candidate for any office here in Utah.

    I’m left scratching my head. However, I enjoyed learning more about your father, talk about dedication.

    Keep up the good fight, brother!

  15. This is the second or third time I’ve heard comments indicating that Hatch is not a native of Utah. Where is he from and how did he come to run for office here?

  16. Hey Pete, when those plastic yard sign came out years ago they sure made good tobogans on grassy hills. Maybe sombody needed to patch a hole on the side of a shed within site of the freeway.
    Silver linings and all that. Send us some info and we’ll put it up world wide. Spred some hope of real democacy to our neighbors.

Comments are closed.