Monday, March 15, 2010
Both the Republican leaders of the Utah Legislative Senate and House were forced to resign this year. The Senate leader because of a DUI. The Representative leader because of a sexual relationship with a minor many years ago, which he paid $150,000 campaign money to buy her silence. In connection with the latter scandal, the church-owned Deseret News was aware of the sexual misconduct eight years ago, but kept silent until other news of the matter became public.
The problem with any political machine owning a state is the same everywhere. It really does not matter if that machine controls the city of Chicago or the State of Utah, the result is the same. People do "favors" for the insiders, and the public suffers as a result.
Utah's reputation as "the reddest of red states" is well deserved. The competition to fill these seats for the two involved in the scandals is internal to the Republican Party. The result of doing so will not be unlike what has long been the case here in Utah, where only one side controls everything.
Both of these men were Latter-day Saints. They are victims of the corrupt political domination every bit as much as the public has been. Without a healthy opposition party, there is no real check upon misbehavior and excesses.
I've always thought that opposing views and people speaking their mind is healthy. Without some criticism of a person's plans and ideas you simply get a chorus of "yes men" chanting how inspired or worthy or good all ideas are, no matter how flawed or foolish. Utah's two fallen leaders are "family men," one of whom was known as a champion of "family values." It's almost as if he had shopped with focus groups to know what words to use to get elected, without any regard to what was within his heart.
Now is the great day of opinion polling and focus group directed marketing, in which the substance of any group of political leaders is always hidden behind the carefully crafted message intended to market image. Indeed, image is everything in this day of deceit.
So, choose your leaders carefully. They will all sound the same. It will not be the vocabulary which will distinguish the evil and corrupt from the true and good. It will only be what lies within them that will differ.