Utah Political Lessons | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly

Utah Political Lessons 

Partisans fail to accept that we are each molded by the culture of our times.

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Al Gore has released a new edition of his book, The Assault on Reason, which outlines the dangers of replacing traditional news with unvetted social media. Yawn.

We remember former Vice President Gore as the previous Democratic Party presidential candidate who won the popular vote and lost the general election to George W. Bush. Bush, I recall, subsequently was mocked by Dems as not being smart and not worthy of a second term.

He then went on to win a second term. How did those canny Democrats let that happen? And how did they fail to learn enough about the difference between popular votes and electoral votes for a repeat in 2016? Have protestors and Facebook ranters learned nothing?

For the next three-and-a-half years you'll make snarky comments about how Donald Trump can't pass his agenda. Meanwhile, he is altering the American judicial system. He has changed Supreme Court outcomes for decades to come. He has nominated 60 lower court judges and will appoint more than 200 before this term is out. He will change court outcomes for the rest of my lifetime, thanks to Democrat Harry Reid eliminating the 60-vote filibuster rule on judicial appointments. Good job, Harry!

Not too long ago, I shared with you takeaways from John Le Carré's re-release of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold—about reaching righteous ends through immoral means during the Cold War. Think of these down-the-road consequences when protesting that Columbus Day should be replaced by Indigenous Peoples Day, or when you ask that statues of Robert E. Lee be removed, or when you want Dixie State University to erase its "rebel" heritage, or when you want formal recognition that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were slave owners.

Today, passionate partisans in Utah are firmly convinced that the other side is made up of, as one White House cabinet member is rumored to have stated, "morons." They fail to accept that we are each molded by the culture of our times.

When I was in my 20s, my career hopes were redirected because the cultural perception was that police officers needed to be tall, strong and male. I was in the top 10 percent on both physical and written tests among the thousand applicants for NYC Police. But, I measured 5 feet 7.5 inches on the medical test, which was a half-inch below the 5-foot-8 minimum. The cultural norm prevented most women and Hispanics—and me—from becoming cops.

Le Carré's latest book, his 25th, A Legacy of Spies, examines the morality in the time of his earlier work—specifically, condoning killing of one's own to save the world. Back in the '70s, heroes in spy novels, as well as in real life, dispatched seemingly innocent people as collateral damage in winning against our enemies. But, today, through the eyes of millennials, the author postulates there will always be a day of reckoning—when a newer cadre of moral-purity absolutists will judge our actions. They, in turn, are setting themselves up to be assessed by newer holier-than-thou judges yet to come, he contends.

In Utah, self-righteous Democrats took two actions this past year that fit this bill and will, in my opinion, come back to haunt them down the road. First, they refused to concede when Bernie Sanders lost the primary to Hillary Clinton, and went on to help her lose the general election. I expect that some of you will write terrible things about me for saying this—substantiating my point regarding this second observation.

In this past political season, Democrats acting as party hijackers unfairly labeled a candidate for party chairman as a sexual predator. Several of these self-righteous hijackers campaigned, virtually screaming, that he was a womanizer and much worse, and should not be allowed to run, nor even speak in his own defense. I asked one of the accusers if she had been a victim. "No," she responded, but she knew someone who claimed that he had approached her—and it was sufficient. No trial. No defense allowed. Rumor from someone she knew was good enough. Like Le Carré of 1970, they accepted good ends as justification for absolutely indefensible conduct.

Let's segue to better politics. I spoke with Republican Lt. Governor Spencer Cox recently, as well as with Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams—those twins who we surmise were separated by party loyalists at birth. Those of you who have met them know they are kind, generous, humble, friendly and smart.

"Are you running for governor?" I asked Cox. He was not totally committed, he said. "It's 80 percent for and 20 percent against." Similarly, non-committal Mayor McAdams said, "There is a rumor that I may run for Congress against Mia Love." Who started that rumor? I could be wrong, but I think it might be Ben. OK, coyness is standard operating procedure for early campaigning on both sides of the aisle. In any event, even though these esteemed elected officials are making decisions that will not kill innocents as in spy thrillers, they know that they not dare be totally transparent from the get-go.

So maybe they aren't 100 percent truthful. But at least they aren't resorting to trashing our Constitution in order to get their own way. That's good enough for me and I support them both—one Republican and one Democrat.

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About The Author

Stan Rosenzweig

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