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The Lie Lives on 

Taking a Gander: Utah's Lee, Owens and Stewart find their footing in Trump's shadow world.

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Sadly, there's no simple recourse for removing elected legislators who have turned their backs on democracy. America has its share of treasonous ones, and the state of Utah is no exception. As the worst of the Republican Party continue to show their spots, Utah seems unable to extricate itself from the Trump team's horrifying, colossal lie. When legislators refuse to accept the vote of the people, we call it treason.

As the die-hard supporters of Donald Trump attempt to find relevance, our state continues to be one of those that supports the Trump shadow, believing the highly unlikely possibility that the dead will rise again.

There ought to be an easy way to remedy the often-unfortunate results of free elections, especially when those elected have become traitors. Enter, Sen. Mike Lee. Utahns elected him, believing in his integrity, but there he is, still wearing his Speedo, swimming in the sea of slime, months after his beloved president disappeared in disgrace. Along with Reps. Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart, Lee has chosen to be a de facto minion of the past president. Let's face it; Trump lost fair and square—the courts have repeatedly said so, and there is no excuse for our senator and representatives to see it any other way. Could anything be as un-American? "Expulsion" from Congress is an option; it has been used before when legislators were found to be corrupt or treasonous, but Utahns are apparently too weak—or asleep—to employ its use.

Trump vowed to drain the swamp, but he left one that's deeper than ever. (In fact, during his final days in office, he actually considered installing a high dive.) The stinky goo is not what swimming should be about, but Lee, Owens and Stewart aren't bothered by the smell and somehow believe that the high viscosity of the semi-liquid provides greater buoyancy.

Their dismal vote on the Jan. 6th commission should be a case in point. Lee, like Stewart and Owens, voted against it, observing the possibility that, though a bipartisan body, it could end up being used as a "witch hunt." Their reluctance to have a balanced investigation stems from the understanding that nothing can absolve the GOP's responsibility in the Capitol-insurrection debacle. The commission would have left no question about who rides the brooms and casts the spells.

While Utah has its share of slimy legislators, it also provides contrast with at least one legislator who understands the meaning of right and wrong. Mitt Romney certainly stands out, both as a voice of righteousness and banner of reason, choosing to steer away from the conspiracy theories and appropriately denounce the man who has hijacked the Republican Party and brought it to undying shame.

For the purposes of housecleaning, the UK and a few other countries allow non-confidence votes. But the U.S. has no simple mechanism for getting rid of those who've demonstrated they have no interest in anything but their own political futures.

It's clear that the Trump-clingers are looking out only for No. 1, and their bad behavior only serves to embolden the pathetic has-been who continues to use extortion in hanging on to the Republican Party's balls.

In a very real sense, if we're going to label groups like Hamas and the Islamic State group as "terrorist," we need to make sure that moniker is used for the many supporters of a man who is, at best, a perennial loser. (Trump's financially successful The Apprentice was actually the only successful business ever started by him, and he had little to do with its success. Luxury apartments, hotels, golf courses, casinos, airlines, a university, a distillery, travel company, mortgage company, beverage bottler, magazine and even a board game, marketed by Milton Bradley, all ended in failure. And the Trump charity arm? It may have collected some serious donations, but it turned out to be his own little piggy bank.)

Mike Lee, along with deluded cohorts such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, and Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, are still worshiping a man who hasn't once garnered the popular vote, and whose only claim to fame is the smoke-and-mirror hype that created the Trump brand.

Lots of Americans are out there are shaking their heads, wondering if the evil clutch of Trump will ever exhaust, and if the Republican Party will disappear in shameful infamy. Now the question is will the voice of the people be silenced as the foundation of our democracy, or will we find the way to weed out the wake of corruption Trump left behind?

Let's face it; swamps, even if they're successfully drained, take an awful long time to dry up. Unfortunately, those who fed Trump's maniacal need for complimentary strokes are still scared—believing they must either feed the dragon or die. Maybe we can excuse the sophomoric stupidity of Owens and Stewart. But, Mike Lee, a self-declared "constitutional lawyer" and champion of our freedoms, is merely a scared, slippery weasel who desperately wants to keep his job and believes that Trump can save him.

The U.S. continues to struggle with the realities of America's worst domestic terrorists. The voice of the people dictated that a Jan. 6 Commission was needed to find the truth, but Mike Lee and his pals continue to ignore the cries of their constituents, subverting and dishonoring the principles of our democracy for what can only be described as a mess of Trump pottage.

The author is a retired businessman, novelist, columnist and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog.

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