Letter: An exploration of disestablishmentarianism

The Utah House of Representatives are shown during a special session of the Legislature at the Utah State Capitol Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Utah legislators unanimously voted during a special session Thursday in favor of a plan for the November election that includes outdoor voting and additional ballot drop boxes in rural parts of the state. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

As a high schooler, I learned to spell what allegedly was the longest English word (28 letters). Though awkward to use in a sentence, it was relevant in the countercultural 1960s and 70s and is again today as the U.S. founders.

Symptomatic is the explosion of the long-running myth of Utah’s strong governance. The fecklessness of the executive branch made it no match for the twin terrors of pandemic and climate change, which continue to wreak bottomless pain on an unprepared public — so many lives lost and educations permanently marred. Nor was the legislative branch — a monolith carved from cruel cynicism unique to Utah — of any avail. Adding to the imposture was Utah’s congressional delegation, crippled by ideological intransigence. One member was pointedly disestablishmentarian, as was the state’s chief law enforcement officer.

Utah’s brokenness is of a piece with federal norms of disarray, dissemblance and disgrace. Its head is a Midas-like figure of near-peerless vacuity and sadism who sullies whatever he touches with an unremitting stench.

Lest there be an orgy of reflexive finger-pointing, each of us should look in the mirror. The overarching state and national debacles are properly laid at the feet of the citizenry’s collective failure. Utah’s future and that of the nation are in peril on account of all-too-human indulgence. To right the present wrong, each citizen should stretch their perspective, eschew totalizing political identity, accept moral responsibility for violent neglect of the oppressed and of Earth, self-regulate dependence on social media, and practice evidential reflection and actions congruent with it.

The ship of state is listing badly and verges on slipping to depths of no return.

Harold Miller, Provo

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