We read every day about the piles of garbage at our national parks, but we forget about the piles of garbage in the U.S. Capitol. These are the politicians who would rather focus on a female legislator's use of the word, "motherfucker," and Sen. Mitt Romney's screed against the "president" than on any workable compromise to the budget impasse. Don't they get it yet? This is a classic distraction technique, and might be the president's only real skill. But our congress members need to look at the real problem. There are serious safety issues in national parks that require employees, former National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis wrote in The Guardian, and it's not up to the kindness of strangers, which USA Today touts. We can talk about air travel safety, too, but it's up to Congress to lead instead of grouse.
Well, here we go again, and Marty Stephens, the former House speaker and now LDS church spokesman, is right. "It seems strange that there are those that don't want us to be involved in the public arena when our views oppose theirs, but they do want us to be involved when they are hoping we'll support their position," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. The debate, of course, is about broadening the state's hate-crimes legislation to include the LGBTQ communities. The first law Utah passed in the '90s was revised in 2015, and is still largely unenforceable. But there are ways, and Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, might get it done. He's focusing on "victim targeting" instead of "hate crimes" to eliminate First Amendment concerns over free speech. But let's focus on the real issue: the church. It wouldn't matter what position it takes if lawmakers would vote independently instead of waiting for church pronouncements.
It was 123 years ago on Jan. 4 that Utah became the 45th state. Yea, Utah, except that we had to give up polygamy to do it. We say "except" because polygamy persists and news outlets like the Trib continue to write fondly, if nostalgically, about it. A front-page Sunday story in collaboration with The Guardian U.S. illustrates just how interested Utahns are in this banned-yet-enduring practice—this time in Missouri. Maybe outsiders think of polygamists like the Amish, which they are not. But hey, it's quaint. The Trib story did mention, way down, about sexual abuse and how law enforcement kind of overlooks polygamists until someone complains. Still, there seems to be a continuing appetite for news about these polygamist compounds and the men who purport to talk to God about "how great Thou art."