Out Standing in His Field | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Hits & Misses

Out Standing in His Field

Vote Local, Pray Tell

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Out Standing in His Field
You've seen the movies where, as the world freezes or melts, the climate-change deniers have that come-to-Jesus moment. Everyone pulls together for the good of the Earth and, whew, they dodge a bullet. But that is fiction, and it's not the kind that motivates the conspiratorial right-wingers of the world. One would think that Utah's agri-governor, Spencer Cox, sees the light. Instead, he bemoans those who blame water-sucking agriculture. That's "very uninformed," Cox told The Salt Lake Tribune, "I might say ignorant." While agriculture isn't all to blame, it accounts for about 70% of the water use worldwide, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Cox farms alfalfa, not a crop that is largely consumed in the state but rather exported as feed. Meanwhile, the lakes are shrinking, reservoirs are depleted and people are still watering their lawns. That's not good, either, but it doesn't look like Cox has a plan other than prayer or shame. Stemming climate change requires long-term thinking, and that's not the Utah way.

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Vote Local
As the country veers into the depths of voter suppression, a BYU report is encouraging citizens to get out there and make their voices heard—if only in local elections. Get off your high horse, suggests new research published in the American Political Science Review. In other words, recognize that the politics of presidential elections might be way fun, but not nearly as important or impactful as local races. If you sit out those off-cycle elections, you're basically leaving your future up to a small cabal of interest groups—especially those that oppose what the majority wants. Some 75% of the 25,000 U.S. municipalities hold elections off-cycle, and when you don't vote in those elections, you "relinquish significant power," the study says. Utah tends to have low voter turnout in any election, but if you care about development, water use or event pollution, you'd better vote in an off-year election. Voter apathy is more consequential than suppression.

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Pray Tell
Once again, the nation focuses on fear rather than the root causes of hate. In fact, the Pray Safe Act seems to assume that religious discrimination is a greater threat than racial bias. You know why. Politicians don't really want to tackle race in America, unless it's to use the boogeyman of Critical Race Theory to set the public on fire. It is unsurprising that a Deseret News report sees the "bipartisan" act as protecting religious freedom. "Freedom of worship cannot be enjoyed without freedom from fear," said Nathan Diament of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center. While there have been horrific threats and attacks on houses of worship, the rationale is muddy if you point only to religion. Muslims and Jews particularly have been targeted, as have Black churches because of racial loathing. Religion is simply the cover.