April 1, Gregg Schultz wrote an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune on Democrats voting in GOP primaries. It echoed the theme in the KSL April 2 special on “Civility: Changing the Conversation” in which our own former governor Jon M. Huntsman promoted a No Label movement to encourage Congressmen to get past the grid lock of partisan politics. But it’s not just politicians that are stuck. It might also be us.
Schultz’ proposal to frustrated citizens to reclaim a voice targets the earlier stage in the party process where a handful of delegates determine who we get to vote for.
Ouch. I feel stuck.
The influence this small handful yields eventually plays out in politicians purporting the delegates particular views. So I ask, where are the views of the moderate middle that I know exist in Utah? For instance, many I know understand it might be wise to not only promote tourism but commerce too and would never have said something like good by and good riddance to the Outdoor retailers. Where are the thoughtful folks who bend over backwards to serve their community or help refugees? Stuck at work while their factious neighbors threaten politicians and homeless alike to hightail it out of their neighborhoods?
At this rate, I ask myself and Mr. Schultz, who will be left in Utah to breath the dirty air and vote in the GOP primaries? Shouldn’t we be advancing towards a “No labels” or ‘Centrist Citizen’ point of view that benefits more of us? At the rate our over-controlled party system is going in Utah it appears we are simply heading to be “A Petty Great State.”
But I’ve seen our better selves surface when leaders like Ben McAdams tackles hard issues with legislators willing to accept ownership for the homeless problem. We need more of these conversations and centrist positions that invite compromise and unity. Maybe as that silent majority gets ‘unstuck’ we can revisit issues on tourism, public lands, heath care, and education.
Wouldn’t that be a breath of fresh air? Oh wait…we need that too.