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How Elephants are Dismantling our Democracy



Get real, Utah! As one of our nation's most religious populations, it should logically follow, that our citizens are committed to the highest moral ground. Oh, yes, but that's only a what-if assumption—like, "What if the creatures in sheep country didn't have such a powerful flocking instinct?" Or, "What if we were to quit milling around and bleating out the chorus of 'Have I Done Any Good in the World Today,'" choosing, instead, to amplify our true sentiments about President Donald Trump's Washington cesspool and raising the volume loud enough to be heard beyond the pasture?

While Utah bears some of the blame for the unfortunate accident of Trump's 2016 win, that doesn't mean it needs to support what is essentially the Trump criminal organization's highly visible disrespect for the Constitution and rule of law.

Somehow, our state and its leadership have turned a blind eye to Trump's first two years. That's inexcusable. But, when the Orange Rabid Raccoon actually ordered his subordinates to defy constitutionally mandated Congressional subpoenas—something that violates his oath of office—it was, by definition, an impeachable offense. Our country functions on the rule of law, and our very least should demand that Trump submits to it.

Now, you'd think that Utahns would be fuming with righteous indignation, insisting their rogue president and his corrupt attorney general be dealt with swiftly and severely. After all, we do share the conviction that there is no one above the law, don't we? Instead, the Beehive State's bleatings and baa-ings simply continue.

But, indeed, it would appear that "salvation is nigh." For, as in biblical times, "... there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." It is the nature of sheep—helpless and vulnerable as they are—to look to the shepherd for guidance and protection. It's a puzzling dilemma—at a time when effective, moral leadership is so needed: Where are the shepherds? We know who they are—the senators and representatives who are our elected leaders—but they're nowhere to be seen.

Sadly, even the best of them have failed to uphold their sworn commitment to their constituents. Not one has actually stepped in as the choir director and raised the chorus of the impeachment anthem. Instead, they almost all cower under the covers, hoping that the Big Bad Wolf will disappear or die, all the while leaving the flock to fend for itself.

Utah's shepherds are choosing a red-white-and-blue elephant over the welfare of their constituents, abdicating their responsibilities, and assuming an every-man-for-himself philosophy at a precipitous time. We elected them but they aren't working for us. The predictable consequence will be what always follows the failure of individual, personal conscience. We've seen it time and time again, how the worst of history's despots were able to prevail—only because the people allowed it to happen.

Even Sen. Mitt Romney, a man who was believed to have some moral backbone, has failed in his shepherding duties. While he gives us an occasional glimpse of what appears to be character, his party loyalties have made him complicit in the virtually-criminal organization now running our country. Of course, you're all recoiling at my use of the word "criminal," but think about it; when the president and his men consciously choose to defy the law, isn't that exactly what it's called?

Rep. Ben McAdams, still confidently believing his mother's words of "This, too, shall pass," has taken a stronger position, though he prefers inaction, mostly over the concern that impeachment would be disruptive. But ask yourself, "What can do more damage than allowing POTUS to continue flaunting the law?" We cannot allow it, and yet, Sen. Mike Lee continues in a state of denial, shaking his head, and repeating to himself, "Trump must have some good in him." His fellow Republicans, Reps. John Curtis, Rob Bishop and Chris Stewart, are only faces on fading campaign posters. They might, just as well, have been born mushrooms.

To name only a tiny sampling of Trump's disregard—flagrante—for the law, here are the undeniable truths: The commandant in chief has defied the authority of congressional oversight, made verified attempts to disrupt and obstruct the Mueller investigation; enriched himself and the rest of the Trump clan in violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause; enacted a tax law that, contrary to his promises, failed to help middle-income families while lavishing an astounding giveaway on the uber-rich; refused to uphold the Voting Rights Act in allowing voter suppression and marginalization of racial minorities; vetoed a bipartisan measure to stop $5.1 billion in arms sales to one of the worst human rights abusers in the world; and unabashedly lied to the American people more than 10,200 times—which wins him a wreath in the Guiness Book of Presidential Records.

Really, Utah, isn't that enough? Elephants are trampling our democracy while we twiddle our thumbs and bleat. For Utahns and their elected senators and representatives, it's high time—time to stand up and be counted, instead of hiding behind the fatal error of favoring partisan politics over a functioning democracy.

The author is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send feedback to