In 1815, a series of treaties were drafted that pretty much sealed the fate of Napoleon Bonaparte, the terrorist of his day. Among them was the New Treaty of the Allied Powers and among the witnesses to it was a man who may otherwise have been lost to history, but for a telling quote he left the world. His name was Baron Wessenberg. He said, “Nothing in the world is more haughty than a man of moderate capacity when once raised to power.”
So true, so true.
Nothing these days elevates a man or woman more quickly into unbridled arrogance as electing him or her to political office. For some, it’s as if they are fulfilling some kind of destiny, so ready are they to bear the torch of popular--not unpopular--causes. Trouble is, as they carry their torches, they never seem to notice or care that their torches are only lit for them, not necessarily for those who elected them with rigged boundaries, nor for those who need it the most. Such arrogance breeds power without compassion, power full of ambition, and cowardice masking as power.
You want arrogance up close and personal? All you have to do is watch our Republican-dominated Legislature as they redistrict Utah’s Democrats, minorities and ethnic groups into the realm of utter and complete disenfranchisement. They’re carving Salt Lake City like it was a piece of rancid meat; and to them, it is. You’d think they’d be honorable enough to at least acknowledge that they despise everything which is not their own, but to them, honor is an idea, not a practice.
Utah’s Republican senators and representatives are as arrogant as they come. Sated on near total governmental power, they are just now exchanging their plates for the as-yet-unfulfilled promise of power over the people, not power of the people. It’s like they never made it past grade school. Want proof? Try this retort from Utah State Rep. Mike Thompson (R-Orem). A Capitol Hill resident had e-mailed all members of the Legislature objecting to plans to eliminate his electoral voice. Thompson, a BYU-educated lawyer no less, replied back: “…the Republican Party is not here to make sure the Democratic Party exists … We need to be represented by people who will put all of Utah first, not just the liberal views of a small minority … It is a sorry state that so many Democrats believe that the rest of the state does not matter, only downtown Salt Lake City and the liberal agenda of so many in that area.” Such is deep and insightful thought down in Utah County, which is entirely represented in the House and Senate by Republicans. In fairness, Thompson also said, “Actually, some of the Democrats in that area [downtown Salt Lake City] are great people.” Hey, pass the melon, Massa Mike.
Also in fairness, Mike Thompson can’t write, spell, or think his way out of a paper sack, ample evidence that a system that fears the challenges presented by a few is ultimately doomed to become a haven for the mediocre. Wessenberg was right.