Seemingly Small Things
Call me sentimental, but one of my favorite Christmas films is It's A Wonderful Life. For those who have lived under a rock during the past 70 years (or hate Christmas movies), the story is about a man, George Bailey, who itches to get out of his small town and make a big contribution to the world. Instead, he keeps getting pulled back to work in his family's building and loan association and remains in his small town. When, later in life, he discovers how much good he has done in his small town, then it dawns on him that the seemingly small things he has done over many years have added up to a big contribution to the world.
So it is with us. The seemingly small things may matter little at the time. Indeed, we may not realize we have made a difference until much later. In fact, at the time, we may despair that we are not making much of a difference at all, as did George Bailey.
When I first started teaching at BYU, I saw a colleague in the bookstore and we began chatting. He was near retirement after many years of teaching. I knew that he suffered from depression. At the end of his career, he wondered whether he had made much of a difference. As we chatted, a man in his 40s approached him. He introduced himself and then explained that he had been a student of my colleague twenty years before. He proceeded to tell him what he had done with his life in that interim, including the career he had pursued. Then, he related to my colleague that his courses had changed the direction of his life. His career choice had been influenced significantly by my colleague. Then, he departed.
I was deeply moved by this encounter. I hoped it had informed my colleague about what he had done. But it also reminded me that the seemingly small things we do now can have a major impact on the lives of others.
Building a new party can sometimes seem like an activity that doesn't really make a difference. Can we break through the tradition and apathy that says that things are the way they are and that is the way they must be? But then I remember George Bailey and that former student. We don't know what impact we will have in the lives of others. We just know that we must follow our consciences and do what we feel is right.
Have a happy holiday season!
Term Limits: Historical Precedent
The Unite 4 Term Limits Initiative is a citizens initiative that will put Term Limits on the table for legislators in Utah in 2020.
The issue of political leaders becoming too enmeshed in their offices has been a subject of debate since the birth of our nation. Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to a friend in 1788, said, "I apprehend that the total abandonment of the principle of rotation in the offices...will end in abuse." Also in 1788, an essay published under a pseudonym, but most likely written by lesser known founding father Melancton Smith—one of the delegates to the Continental Congress, argued that “even good men in office, in time, imperceptibly lose sight of the people, and gradually fall into measures prejudicial to them.”
Not all the founders agreed that term limits were beneficial, James Madison among them. They argued that switching out political leadership too quickly could result in inexperienced leaders falling prey to "snares that may be laid for them."
It was not until President Franklin D. Roosevelt stayed in office for the better part of four terms that congress officially ratified the 22nd amendment which ensured a presidential two-term limit.
The Unite for Term Limits initiative (U4TL) is intended to help put new voices, new ideas, and new leadership tactics into the spotlight. It is currently very difficult to win an election against an incumbent in Utah (it's easier to stay with what we know than to take a chance on what we don't), meaning that once a person is in power, they are likely to stay in power. Rather than wear the rut of same-old party line politics deeper into Utah bedrock, we want to see what new trails Utah legislators might blaze.
U4TL will limit state government officials to no more than eight consecutive years in office for the executive branch (including governor), or twelve consecutive years in office for legislative offices (state house and senate). This should ensure that no single person becomes too entrenched in their office, as Jefferson wanted, but allows for good leaders to return to office should "we the people" truly want them back—hopefully preventing government leaders from falling into any "snares" foreseen by Madison.
For this initiative to work, however, we need you and passionate people like you to act! We need signatures—about 116,000 of them—and we need them by February. That is going to require a huge effort from the whole party. Every one of us must do our part to make this happen!
There are two easy steps that we each can and should do.
First, we need everyone reading this newsletter to sign the petition. If you're not sure how, sign up here and we can get you in contact with someone about signing! (Unfortunately, signing online only indicates that you would like to sign the petition and does not count as a signature on the petition. If we could get signatures online, this race would be over in a flash!)
Second, after you've signed, we need everyone who reads this newsletter to share, share, share!
According to a UtahPolicy poll, 75% of Utahns support term limits for legislators. We Utahns tend to follow in the footsteps of our anti-Federalist founders like Thomas Jefferson. If everyone who reads and signs the petition chooses to then share the petition, encouraging other Utahns to sign and share the petition, the odds of us getting all 116,000 signatures by the deadline in February drastically increases!
So think of someone you can tell, someone who would care, like you do, and tell them. Then think of two more people and tell them. Share it on your social media. Just get the word out to your fellow Utahns! If you share it, they will sign.
In particular, please share the Initiative's facebook page (Unite 4 Term Limits) and share the following link so that your friends and neighbors who are interested in signing can get in touch with a signature collector and add their names to the cause:
Of course, there are other BIG ways you can help us make it to the deadline with all the necessary signatures in February.
We still need people to help collect signatures. Sign up here to volunteer to get those signatures. We'll get you hooked up with a leader in your area who can get signature packets to you. We have been amazed at how many great volunteers have come out of the woodwork and shown their willingness to take around packets.
Soon, we'll be launching more materials that will allow you to start gathering signatures today, if you are willing. All you'll need is a printer, a phone or email address, a stapler, and a way of getting to the county clerks office.
Another huge way that you can help is by making a donation. Click here to support us financially today. Your hard earned funds will be used to help get more signatures on the petition.
Every signature, share, volunteer, and donation gets us that much closer to those 116,000 signatures. Every signature gathered gets us one step closer to getting term limits on the table in 2020.
We can do this if we all pitch in and work together! Thank you all so much for your support on this great initiative.
Save the Date
We've got some important events coming up in a few months, so make sure to mark these dates on your calendars!
|January 18, 2020||Moving UUP Summit|
|March 24, 2020||Party Caucuses|
|April 18, 2020||UUP State Convention|
We'll look forward to seeing you there!
Moving UUP Summit
Come one, come all to the Moving UUP Summit! This will be a breakfast conference, so come hungry and prepared to sate your appetite for delicious breakfast foods and intellectually stimulating political content! Price will be given at a later date.
The Summit will be held Saturday, January 18, 2020 at the StayBridge Hotel, from 9:30 am to 12 noon. The StayBridge Hotel is located at 3380 North Triumph Blvd in Lehi, UT. RSVP at email@example.com by January 10.
Endorse the Party?
Want to help the cause, but don't know how to start? Dip your toes into supporting the UUP by sending your name and hometown to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you do, you'll be helping us flesh out the party for those considering their options! We will include your name and hometown on a list of endorsements in a fundraising letter and on our website. We want to let people know who some of our members are.
Thanks so much for your help!
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The United Utah Party is dedicated to providing and supporting moderate alternatives to the political extremes.