There are many things special about being a native Utahn. We were not only born here, but we stay here despite all the reasons a good number of other Utahns give us to leave. Many of us, myself included, have Utah roots that date to the earliest pioneers. Despite the fact that too many of those, myself excluded, have forgotten that they were not the first inhabitants here, nor the first to settle, we remain. And why not? We are surrounded by beauty, albeit the villages in which we mostly live are not so beautiful. The weather is nearly perfect a third of the time, but never on four consecutive days. While our neighbors can be hit or miss, they are, by and large, friendly during zucchini-share season and especially so during fruit cake-share season. Utahns have a pretty decent life expectancy, even though we consume grand amounts of beef fat and sweet sodas.
On the other hand, we are also—I'm looking for the right word here—"blessed," say some, to be represented by six members of Congress who vote in unison on nearly all matters that affect our state. That they each share the same religion furthers the belief of some Utahns that Utah is even more special than, say, either of the Dakotas. It's a Utah thing to hang a hat upon even the smallest matter of prideful arrogance. Being better than a Dakota is an example of a prideful thing. Who doesn't punch down on North and South Dakota? Even West Virginia punches down on the Dakotas.
Both Dakotas combined have six members of Congress, same as Utah. Unlike Utah, two of those six are Catholic and two are evangelical Christians. One is a Lutheran and the final one just goes to church somewhere. Outside of them all being Christian, that seems pretty diverse to me. Is that any way to represent a body of people, by not spawning from a single religion font? That sure flies in the face of the Utah way, where electing a non-LDS person to the U.S. Congress is as rare as an authentic Mark Hofmann signature.
But, we don't move. We stay. I guess that's due to those of us who are not LDS, thinking it's some kind of honor badge to hold out for better things. Maybe we think things will change, and in some ways, life in Utah is changing. On the surface, Utah looks more diverse than when I was young, and I can attest that there are more drinkers in Utah than there used to be. That's a good thing. The trouble is, no matter how diverse Utah becomes, our zany gerrymandered districts promise landslide elections to dumb grifters like Rep. Chris Stewart. Did you see what he had to say about the passage of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package? He called it the "Pelosi Payoff," saying, it was her "paying her friends, paying her voters." Don't tell Chris, but Speaker Pelosi represents the same number of voters—approximately 341,000—as he. He's never figured out that it's possible to rise in political power without shining shoes.
Indeed, all of Utah's representatives voted against the coronavirus package. Rep. John Curtis called it the "largest government redistribution of wealth in history." History covers a lot of ground, so let's assume Curtis meant in U.S. history. He might recall then a greater wealth redistribution occurred with the Reagan tax cuts. Sen. Romney voted against the bill saying, "states that don't need [corona funding], shouldn't get it." Even Utah, he said. Never mind that frugal Utah underspends in nearly all categories. Yeah, we need the funds, Mitt!
The prize goes to Sen. Mike Lee, though. He is against debt, except when he isn't. While he's been a senator, our national debt has doubled, with most of that—$7 trillion—occurring during the past four years of Trump. It was OK in those times to give money via tax breaks and benefits to the upper echelons of U.S. citizenry, but passing funds to all Americans is a bridge too far for spoiled kids like Mike Lee. He's also a religious phony. Anyone who so carelessly casts out his religious oyster shells, and embarrasses his own faith, is probably a fake. He did it in the election run-up comparing Donald Trump to Captain Moroni of the Book of Mormon, and he did it again this week in explaining his vote against the relief package. Here's what he said:
"Gird up your loins, fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake. And soon we'll have this tale to tell. All is well! All is well!" Huh??
That's a verse from a particular LDS hymn I've never sung. But why? Is that a coded message? If so, he needs to go to his secret place and talk in code because that makes no sense at all. It may to some Mormons. It may in the context of the entire hymn. But as a reason to vote against people who need financial relief? Lee is crazy, and he needs to open up his music catalog. Knowing he won't, I will.
Here, try this one, Mike—taken from the No. 1 hit on the day you were born in 1971:
"Gold Coast slave ship bound for the cotton fields. Sold in a market down in New Orleans. Scared old slaver knows he's doing alright. Hear him whip the woman just around midnight. Brown sugar, how come you taste so good. Brown sugar, just like a good girl should."
Next time you gird your loins, Mike, do it with a Keith Richards riff, OK?
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