Inside the bubble

Do you live in a bubble? Probably not, but it did get me thinking more seriously about the whole “bubble” concept. I remember a Saturday Night Live skit about progressives living in the Bubble now that Trump is president. It begins with a hippie looking guy saying, “What if there was a place where the unthinkable didn’t happen and life could continue for progressive Americans as before?” The skit goes on to describe this new Bubble as a “planned community of like-minded free thinkers…and no one else. If you’re an…

Adieu, Scouting!

Many Latter-day Saints might be sad or confused about the announcement from the LDS Church that it will no longer be participating in the Scouting program for older boys. And that sadness or confusion is understandable. The LDS Church was one of the original partners with the Boy Scouts of America dating back to 1913. Their partnership has been deep over the years in terms of membership, programs, and finances. I am neither sad nor confused. I never have been a fan of the scouting program. None of our four…

Trump the Unifier?

From the beginning of the modern conservative movement in America, there always have been philosophical divisions. We have different species of conservatives: economic, social, neo- and paleo. Unfortunately, the movement often gets lumped together with non-conservative, but right wing, strains of delusional freedom fighters such as libertarians, the alt-right and conspiracy theorists. In the 1950s and 1960s, conservative icons such as William F. Buckley did their best to create a movement based on what they called “fusionism” – the idea that all freedom fighters can work together for what they…

A nation of lies

Evidently, the art of the deal is really just the art of lying. Donald Trump has proven that not only is lying an art but it’s okay to do. We’ve all heard of “white lies” but Trump has developed a new course of study in academia: Blue lies. A blue lie is lying in the name of the collective good. Of course, a blue lie isn’t really a new thing. It’s just that Trump has raised it to a new level and the disintegration of political discourse has run with…

Beauty and the Beast: Out of the closet?

There is a controversy over the new Beauty and the Beast movie. Evidently, Disney wrote a gay character into the script. No, not “gay” as in happy, as in every Disney movie prior to the 1980s. “Gay” as in sexual orientation. Evangelical leader Franklin Graham has called for people of faith to boycott the movie as a show of force for traditional values. But is that a good idea? If were you born well before 1988, you might remember another movie controversy over The Last Temptation of Christ, a more…

Republican leaders are the impoverished ones

Another interesting article about poverty from American Enterprise Institute scholar Arthur Brooks falls on the heels of Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz lecturing the poor about making choices between cell phones and health insurance. You might recall that Chaffetz said during a CNN interview, “rather than ‘getting that new iPhone that they just love,’ low-income Americans should take the money they would have spent on it and ‘invest it in their own health care.’” While our worse selves understand what Chaffetz was saying – in that ignorant, discriminatory kind of way…

America first, human beings last

As I listened to Donald Trump’s inaugural address my mind’s eye drifted back to the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan in 1992 and 1996. Full of spit and vinegar at the time, I was a big supporter of Buchanan. He was the Donald Trump of the 1990’s except that he had manners, he was gracious, he was intelligent and a real conservative. Pat Buchanan was a newspaperman turned political operative who went from writing editorials for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat to writing speeches for Richard Nixon and then on to…

The necessary conservative pivot

What represents American culture today is dramatically different than the American culture of my childhood. Of course, things change over time. Styles, music, art, technologies are all subject to change at any given moment. But I’m speaking of fundamental changes to American culture – the kind of changes that alter our future. One fundamental change to American culture began in 1967 when no-fault divorce was first enacted. About that same time, the War on Poverty fundamentally affected family formation in many poor communities. Contraception and abortion decisions by the United…

All ideologues sing the same tune

My disdain for Donald Trump is no secret. That Utah gave Trump his lowest vote count among red states was a proud moment for me. And, as a Latter-day Saint, I was very pleased to see so many of us vote for someone else. While many establishment Latter-day Saints are slowly, if not begrudgingly, looking on the bright side of a Trump presidency, I’m not one of them. None of my critical views about Donald Trump have changed. But, recently, I’ve been forced to reflect on the extent of my…

Pump the brakes in reaction to Bears Ears

The hot story this week is the presidential decree establishing the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. With a swipe of his pen, President Obama set aside over one million acres of Utah wilderness as land too sacred, too historical, too intergenerational and too pristine to be left in the control of anyone and anything short of the all-seeing and all-powerful federal government. Utah conservatives are up in arms. They say President Obama abused the Antiquities Act (he did). They say his timing in doing so as he leaves…