Us vs Us | Private Eye | Salt Lake City Weekly

Us vs Us 

Pin It
click to enlarge news_privateeye1-1.png

One of the damning nuances of print publications is that in this era of fast-release news on the internet and over social media, by the time someone reads what is written, it will be, as they say, yesterday's news. Alas, I am writing yesterday's news today which is actually tomorrow's news, because Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney is yet to be summarily ejected from her Republican leadership position in the U.S. House of Representatives. I'm going out on a very strong limb here, but I suspect she will indeed be ousted in favor of someone less courageous and far less honorable come Wednesday.

I would have bet a sizeable amount a couple of weeks ago that Chris Stewart, the U.S. representative for Salt Lake City's downtown district where City Weekly's office is located—would be in line to replace Liz. He is famously among the most cowardly and disingenuous of all U.S. representatives, making him the ideal candidate for GOP leadership. Chris is never shy about posting up his Air Force background. I didn't think our military was comprised of men willing to so quickly sell their souls and ideals. But he has. Can you imagine if real enemies were coming for him (and us) instead of the imaginary ones he keeps yapping about on Twitter?

I would have bet an equal amount that GOP rising star Congressman Burgess Owens, who represents me in my home's Murray district would also be in line to replace Liz. Since he began his campaign to unseat Democrat Ben McAdams, I've not heard a single utterance from him that didn't demonize Democrats or liberals. His entire campaign was a tirade against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which was just lazy since his Republican majority district has been well trained to believe Pelosi is the devil incarnate. Never mind that he has no original ideas, he's their mighty gladiator chosen to fight a real warrior who entered Congress about the same time Owens was burnishing his resume as a chimney sweep. So never mind also that nothing good is going to come to Murray or any other city in his widespread district—he doesn't seem to mind that honor is not among his attributes.

Both Stewart and Owens will not shrug the big lie that the 2020 election was rigged or stolen, and that Donald Trump was shortchanged on earning a second term. Neither is quite yet sure if they can admit that Joe Biden won the election fair and square, because neither is willing to step across their phony line of party unity. Like their party leader, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy—the guy who is behind the ouster of Liz Cheney—Owens and Stewart initially condemned the insurrection and assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Since then, McCarthy has done an about-face, and Owens and Stewart are radio silent. That makes the to-do over Liz Cheney ever more egregious since she's the last woman standing, so to speak. In a sea of brave NFL defensive backs and former pilots, she stands her ground and speaks against the former president, Donald Trump, his frauds on the republic and his near take-down of an over 200-year-old peaceful transition of power. It's as if both Stewart and Owens don't care what team they're on—they just want to win the game.

Owens and Stewart are party shills who simply cannot be trusted. If this were the epic 1980 Winter Olympics hockey game between the Team USA and the Soviet Union, neither Owens nor Stewart could be counted on as a reliable goalie. They would have been as likely to let the Soviet Union score a win as not depending on what was in it for them rather than the team. Let's just say they couldn't fill the skates of USA goalie Jim Craig who stopped an amazing 36 of 39 goal attempts by the Soviets. Everyone was sure the Soviets would win—and that would have been signal enough for Owens and Stewart to start hedging their talking points.

That's where we are these days. Americans have chosen teams. It's no longer us against the world. It's us against us. I look to Owens and Stewart with undignified contempt, admitting readily it's undignified to feel the way I do about them. I don't care if Owens played in the NFL. I don't care that Stewart flew a jet. That's the end of the resume of each. They've done zero for me, my districts or the United States itself other than to stand steadfast with party. Owens never shows up in Murray. Stewart never shows his face in Salt Lake City. At every turn, they tweet all manner of scorn for persons like me. In nearly every tweet or press release is a backhanded swipe at my kind.

Why do they hate me so? They can say they don't, but their words say otherwise. Their words are meant to inflict damage on me and mine, and reassure "them," reminding the world that I'm not on their team. Has Donald Trump ever said a nice word to anyone? No. These guys play for him—he's the coach, they use his playbook. They are him. They keep the lie alive.

Hopefully, Liz Cheney doesn't back down. They will torch her with many of those carrying the kindling quietly supporting her, but unwilling to share in her courage. Yeah. Her dad did terrible things. He bullied us into wars. But she is standing up to a bully now, and she will pay the price for that. If she were a defensive back, she'd beat out Burgess Owens. If she were a pilot, she'd shoot down Chris Stewart. If they were Americans, they'd be on her side.

Send comments to

Pin It


About The Author

John Saltas

John Saltas

John Saltas, Utah native and journalism/mass communication graduate from the University of Utah, founded City Weekly as a small newsletter in 1984. He served as the newspaper's first editor and publisher and now, as founder and executive editor, he contributes a column under the banner of Private Eye, (the original... more

© 2024 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation