It's only fitting that Utah should mourn the passing of former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, at the same time that we are mourning the loss of fair elections. The year 2021 was filled with flags at half-staff for stalwarts like Colin Powell and Bob Dole, but Reid's death struck right at the heart of liberal, LDS politics. Not that Utah has seen a liberal in office for some time, but there has long been a fleeting hope that at least some Mormons would return to their communitarian roots. "He believed that the issues of global warming, economic inequality and civil rights would drive more Mormons to the left, and that what he deemed the 'vapidity and hypocrisy' of the evangelical platform would eventually disillusion Mormonism's next generation. Reid hoped his faith's future was blue," The Washington Post wrote. He was wrong, perhaps not about the truly "faithful," but surely about the 72% who voted for the former liar-in-chief in 2020.
There's a cartoon joke going around with a dinosaur looking up at a comet about to strike Earth. "But ... the economy," it says. And so it is with Utah's libertarian ethos that demands a distrust in government, even when it tries to save your life. "Government is just the use of actual or threatened use of coercive force with a badge," Sen. Mike Lee told the Utah Eagle Forum, which was meeting with a largely unmasked audience. Lee told them that the government doesn't love you. Well, who does? Certainly not the Utah GOP. Salt Lake and Summit counties have both instituted mask mandates amid an unprecedented rise in COVID cases, but the Legislature is poised to snuff them out because, gee, they've got a great compromise law, KUTV 2 News reports. You know the one—it's the law no one pays attention to.
There is hope in speaking the truth. That's the rationale behind a new report from Utah State University's Utah Women & Leadership Project. In its latest paper on sexist comments and responses, women—mostly white and members of Utah's predominant faith—related questionable experiences from childhood on up. A Deseret News report quoted many of them. "My bishop said (over the pulpit) that his pretty wife was a reward for him being a good missionary, so the young men in the ward needed to be good missionaries." The study aims to educate people on what constitutes sexual harassment or more, but it also intends to equip women with tools to combat sexism. Will it work in a state mainly run by white Mormon men who perpetuate the culture? Well, there's hope, however faint.