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Guest op-ed: Dangers of the one-party state

By Kerry Wayne - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Dec 4, 2021

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Kerry Wayne

What does Utah have in common with the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea, the People’s Republic of (Mainland) China and the Republic of Cuba? With the passing of the Legislature’s new gerrymandered redistricting bill, the State Republican Party has further tightened its stranglehold, ensuring partisan politics for many years to come. The World Atlas points out the dangers of one-party states: “A one-party state has the monopoly of power, is authoritarian, and will sometimes violently suppress a political party that questions its ideologies. A single political party state can sometimes lead to lack of transparency. The leaders may run amok due to lack of opposition leading to runaway spending, corruption, wastage of resources, and abuse of human rights.”

Our one-party state has a Legislature that acts at lightning speed to preserve its own power yet fails to provide any relief to Utahns finding it ever harder to pay for groceries, housing, health care, education, child care and transportation. An assembly that believes Public Safety should be mandated by anecdotal folktales, rather than science. Bowing to anti-vax conspiracists pushing bleach, Lysol, Ivermectin and Borax baths as legitimate cures for COVID-19. The worst part of this whole scenario is the turning “lies into cash” piece. More donor money allows greater access to larger forums and willing politicians hoping to profit from this unabashed deceit.

Utah’s State Legislature has shown little accountability to those voters that placed them in office. For nearly 40 years, the Republican Party has held power and worked tirelessly to eliminate any resistance, blaming others for their own shortcomings and bad lawmaking. One is never surprised when new GOP candidates point out the tone-deaf self-serving actions of their own party. Women, minorities and families that embrace one-party politics must have an extremely low level of expectation and they are never disappointed. The record of “What have they done for you lately” would comprise a fairly brief list. The Legislature has failed to confront hate speech and have winked as each new group is targeted. Intimidation and threats of violence help to silence those with opposing points of view. Publicly threatening to kill a co-worker and attack the president of our county is fully condoned by our state delegation. An excellent example of spineless lily-livered leadership.

Apathy is another patron of the one-party state. When individuals believe that there is no chance of them altering the political landscape, then the party in power remains in power. No light escapes a black hole, and lawmaking needs all the light it can get. We are quickly approaching the 100-day mark for candidate filing and I have heard extraordinarily little interest from Democrats in fielding candidates. When there is not an opposing candidate on the ballot, we teach voters to vote Republican. Additionally, I see so much voter frustration, as longtime Democrats flock to the Republican primary because they still want a say in who is going to represent them. Rather than following the Mike Lee approach, we need to find ways to stop Americans from hating other Americans that do not share their skin color, religion, culture and so much more. The only way that will happen is if you get involved and shape your own destiny.

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” — Harry S Truman

Kerry Wayne has been a two-time candidate for Utah House District 29 and currently resides in Marriott-Slaterville. He serves as the vice chair for the Utah Campaign Co-Op, an organization to assist those wishing to run for public office.

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