Fly Away, Chris | Private Eye | Salt Lake City Weekly

Fly Away, Chris 

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Every day I awake and curse my unlucky stars. I'm not alone in my misery but as a Salt Lake County Democrat, I doubt I could do much worse than being a constituent of the most miserable representatives in the U.S. Congress. I've lived in Murray more than 25 years and know and trust Ben McAdams who formerly served as Salt Lake County mayor. McAdams has never behaved as a left-wing liberal; he was a Blue Dog Democrat. But, my new District 4 representative is QAnon spokesman Burgess Owens, who unseated him. Good God! I still can't believe that.

What is it about my fellow constituents downstream in Levan, Fairview and Mount Pleasant—all around 90 miles away—that would cause them to turn tail on McAdams? Those three towns are as Utah pioneer stock as they come, and I have a little insight to that, as my own great-great grandfather, Matthew Caldwell, was a resident settler and Mormon polygamist down that way in the late 1800s. He was also the first mayor of Spanish Fork, a town partially encompassed in District 4. And that, right there, is the full extent of what I have in common with my fellow residents of District 4: Mormon roots and polygamy. Basically, everything south of me is the template for winning elections in Utah—heavily LDS, conservative Republican and full of spite for all things liberal.

Two years ago, McAdams pulled off the near impossible when he beat Mia Love who had served two terms representing District 4. Two things occurred to help McAdams procure that win. Love fell into disfavor in the Trump camp prior to the election—"Love gave me no love," whined Trump gloatingly when she lost—and a bill to legalize medical cannabis was on the ballot. The first problem cost her votes. The second problem gained votes for McAdams as it was the newly energized Democrats who primarily rallied to pass the cannabis referendum.

Our newspaper offices in downtown Salt Lake City are part of the expansive and similarly gerrymandered District 2. Our rep is Chris Stewart, who once flew in a big U.S. Air Force bomber, which has become his dubious leadership asset. He wins because he cannot lose. I've worked in downtown Salt Lake City for more than 30 years. I'll right now give two free quarter page ads to anyone in the food and beverage industry in Salt Lake City who has ever served a meal to Chris Stewart. He might have eaten at City Creek because he's a good boy and knows who butters his soft rolls, and he might have eaten at some fast-food place (both still count for the free ads), but in all else, he's a ghost. I'll also give three shiny nickels to anyone who has ever spotted him on the street. He supposedly has an office on South Temple, but does he? Maybe he uses it for dine-in only.

Why must the businesses and citizens of Salt Lake City fight for his attention on matters dear to them with the citizens of Kanab, a mere 312 miles from our 200 South office? God bless the John Waynes of Kanab, but really? I have a sense that somewhere in the dark cave of evil politics, a man (white of course) is rubbing his skeletal hands over cauldron of brew (non-alcoholic) while getting a back rub from fellow cave dwellers (no women) for concocting the idea to royally screw one of the most important cities in the West by carving the business end of the screw into a one-sided congressional district that guarantees that no Democrat will ever fill that seat, that Salt Lake City will be left without honest representation in Congress, but that Paragonah will.

Downtown Salt Lake City is getting a real thumping during this age of COVID. The small business core of Salt Lake City cries for help. The hospitality, events, arts and performance sectors of Salt Lake City cry for help. Has anyone heard from Chris Stewart on this matter? No? Well, what a surprise. For the past four years, he's yet to produce an original thought, and we're looking at two more years of him just being a snot rag to the men and women of Congress who actually do the heavy lifting.

When Stewart first ran, I had hope for him for the single reason that he had an Air Force background. Two of my older brothers served in the Air Force for over 20 years combined, one of them two years in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, assigned to B-52s in Thailand and the Philippines. So, I have a soft spot for Air Force veterans. It wasn't long before it became clear that the Air Force service was the highest card in Stewart's hand, as he subsequently traded serving our country for anything and everything that served him best, especially in these past four years of serving Donald Trump best.

There's no bottom to how bad Chris Stewart is. I say that before Burgess Owens has a chance to prove me wrong. Yet, I also begin the Owens' era with a sliver of hope for the single reason that his favored jersey number was 44, the same as two of my all-time football favorites, Leroy Kelly and John Riggins. I have sunk to that. I know nothing substantive about my representatives who care nothing about me. That's how the gods who rule Utah planned it. They have rigged my people out of the game. They promote the worst and elect them to high office in rigged districts yet manage to whine foul on election outcomes.

Two more years cannot come soon enough.

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About The Author

John Saltas

John Saltas

John Saltas is a lamb eating, Bingham Canyon native, City Weekly feller who'd rather be in Greece.

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