When Utah's Mormon politicians slip on a banana peel, the thud they
make hitting the floor often can be felt to the earth's magnetic core.
As God's chosen people, LDS lawmakers see themselves as morally
superior and thus have a longer, more terrifying descent back to the
place where the "un-chosen" hang out.
But it's not all
their fault. Utahns expect lawmakers to be beyond reproach. They want
candidates with squeaky clean resumes, "family" men and women,
successful in their professional lives with impeccable credentials,
networked in church and fraternal circles. No rehabbed druggies or
reformed prostitutes need apply.
And since lawmakers don't have 12-step meetings to attend and
ostensibly have few vices to sap their energy, they have untold zeal with which to regulate our lives. Many lack empathy because they've encapsulated
their own mistakes to such a degree that they don't own them and
consider them to be inconsequential. They lack seasoning or experience to fall back on and need rules to guide them.
have no clue what it's like to be an outsider, to have little
money/status, to be—say—an older worker who loses his or her job
and health benefits; to be gay and long for a spouse and children; to
be a pregnant woman without a partner or a decent job and considering
abortion; to be cited for drunken driving and trying to keep your job
so you can pay your fines.Yes, indeedy, shit does happen.
Only now, with their careers in shambles and families shamed, can the likes of Kevin Garn and Sheldon Killpack begin to know what it feels like to have royally screwed up. Their new-found humility could have been useful in chambers where pride and arrogance often rule the day. But like broken jars of pickles in aisle 2—they were mopped up, disposed of and replaced overnight by the stocking crew.