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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Editorial: Gov. Cox’s Pandora’s Box

Utah’s governor is not shying away from passing legislation that many find offensive, harmful and hypocritical.
%28Image+Courtesy+of+Laura+Seitz%2FDeseret+News%29
Laura Seitz
(Image Courtesy of Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

 

According to Greek mythology, Pandora was a woman who had in her possession a box containing all misery and evil. Though warned not to, she succumbed to her curiosity and opened her box, releasing into the world all of the evils found here today. 

While Gov. Spencer Cox is not exactly the same as this curious woman from Greek mythology, he is in possession of his own box. As Utah’s governor, he ultimately decides which bills passed by the legislature pass into law and which bills receive veto.

Unfortunately for the state of Utah, he has decided to open his box. Cox has decided to push a variety of racist, transphobic and otherwise harmful legislation into Utah law.  

We are in the midst of the busiest time for the Utah State Legislature. As the 2024 Legislative Session progresses, Utah’s politics regress to times gone by. To many, the actions of the legislature show that these lawmakers actively attempt to erase much of the well-meaning progress that has improved our state. 

Much like the opening of Pandora’s box, Cox’s actions release evil and misery into the state of Utah and into the lives of many of his constituents. 

The Right Kind of Conflict?

Cox is not shying away from passing legislation that many find offensive, harmful and hypocritical. He argues Utahns must learn to “disagree better.” In order to “disagree better,” he says we must embrace divisiveness in a respectful way. According to Cox, there is a right kind of conflict. 

It is becoming increasingly apparent that when Cox calls for Utahns to disagree better, he means one side should quietly succumb to the will of another. 

Among other laws passed, he has banned his transgender constituents from entering public restrooms and demolished diversity programs within public education. 

Cox claims one thing, but his actions speak to his true intentions. The governor who calls for his state to build bridges simply cannot be the same one to actively tear them down. His behavior is hypocritical and shameful. The types of conflict he allows within his legislature comes nowhere close to being respectful.

A Step Forward

Cox is not unaware of his position of power. For example, his recent call for the Utah School Board to hold Natalie Cline accountable is a step in the right direction. But Cox needs to hold himself just as accountable. If he wants to call out harm against children, he first needs to acknowledge the harm that he has caused children through the bills he’s signed. 

He can start by listening to the backlash from people across his state. His constituents are calling to him for change — constituents from all sides.

Cox’s actions make Utah a dangerous place for his marginalized constituents. We have to wonder how much he cares about the voices of constituents who disagree with him. 

Cox represents all of Utah. He needs to start acting like it.

‘Both sides of the aisle’

“Reaching across the aisle” seems to be a favorite phrase of Cox. He dreams of a Utah where people on opposite sides of the political scale can “disagree better” and “stand united.”

Still, we must remember, both sides of the aisle are not made equal — and they never have been. 

One side perpetuates violence against transgender people. 

One side seeks to obliterate all progress made to diversify our public education system. 

One side continues to show over and over again how poorly they listen and how little they care. 

We can’t reach across the aisle when one side seeks to tear down the other, silencing any voices that oppose it. 

Stand United

When Pandora opened her box, she shut the lid before one last concept could escape: hope.

As hope remained alone, locked inside Pandora’s Box, the world became swamped with misery, it’s literal only hope locked away. 

Utahns live in this miserable world. 

We live in a world where people in positions of power actively bar others “across the aisle” from entering public restrooms, from feeling welcome within educational institutions, from being treated like human beings. 

Cox has the power to reopen his box. He holds the power to change Utah for the better. He can release hope back into the world and give us all a reason to push forward, reach across the aisle and stand united. 

But right now, he’s not. Right now, Cox hides behind empty claims of asking his constituents to disagree better. 

We are not calling for him to step down. But we are calling for him to be better. 

 

The Daily Utah Chronicle Editorial Board is a group of senior opinion journalists who rely on research and debate to write staff editorials. Editorials represent the majority view of the editorial board and are written separately from the newsroom.

View Comments (4)
About the Contributor
The Daily Utah Chronicle Editorial Board for the Spring 2024 semester consists of Madeline Van Wagenen, Morgan Champine, Jeffrey Langley Jr., Caroline Jarvis and Angela Lezaic.

Comments (4)

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  • S

    Susan KnottFeb 15, 2024 at 1:34 pm

    There is merit to what you say and there is merit to the John H. response. But guess what?– the issue is not that people disagree or how and why they disagree. This issue is those who have a voice, waste the opportunity to make the world a better place by shouting at whoever they think is to blame for the problem and suggesting the solutions are the exact opposite of whatever their opponent is proposing. Just stop bashing everyone else, speak up in a way that those who are the most different from you will listen and take heed. Hope is not locked away, and Utahs are not living in a miserable world. Your voice could be giving people hope and easing the lives of those who are being hurt by the bills. Write to make the difference you hope to see in the world.

    Reply
  • P

    PeterFeb 15, 2024 at 10:21 am

    Classic example of higher education reductive drivel. All the approved words without the understanding.

    Reply
  • T

    Teresa MolinaFeb 15, 2024 at 4:22 am

    Bravo

    Reply
  • J

    John HedbergFeb 15, 2024 at 2:53 am

    Dear Editorial Board,

    Why just you just say out loud that you’re Marxists who don’t give an actual hoot about the feelings or well-being of anyone who doesn’t agree with your own feelings, typically your worst and most baseless feelings, at that? (This is called bigotry, BTW). You don’t give a cr*p about trans people of any age, or you wouldn’t openly try to suppress the already marginalized voices of trans folk who find out the hard way that ‘Gender Affirming Care’ doesn’t always help after the first few weeks, nor would you deliberately ignore the findings out of Europe’s trans institutes and the recent American College of Pediatricians statement, which call into question whether hormone blockers and/or surgery have any measured long-term net positive effect on dysphoria.

    From “Mental Health in Adolescents with Incongruence of Gender Identity and Biological Sex”, February 2024:
    “There is no long-term evidence that mental health concerns are decreased or alleviated after ‘gender affirming therapy.’ Many individuals who have been treated with ‘GAT’ later regret those interventions and seek to align their gender identity with their sex. Because of the risks of social, medical, and surgical interventions, many European countries are now cautioning against these interventions while encouraging mental health therapy.”

    If the Editorial Board cared more about trans people than soap boxing and virtue signaling, they would show some compassion by examining both sides of surgery and hormone blockers, which are now no longer being recommended in many places, for reasons the medical community evidently finds are in the better interest of human well-being than your very tired, baseless, and worn-out hate tropes (tropes you display as a group, sadly. How do you keep your jobs?)

    Why does The Chronic keep publishing the same article over and over again, falsely accusing women and the population which #Listens to them of the crimes they themselves are actually committing, as they hate-label and target anyone who doesn’t go along with their highly prejudiced and narcissistic tantrums, demanding that we give preference to the feelings one group (which is itself discrimination) while simultaneously dehumanizing and marginalizing the safety and feelings of everyone else in the room, no matter how they identify?

    Just to reiterate AGAIN 🤪😜😋:

    A large and growing number of post-surgical transgender persons are realizing in retrospect that they were not feeling at home in their own body for reasons which had nothing to do with gender, and now that they’ve chosen irreversible removal of body organs that can never be replaced (for instance, they can never have children), there have been a growing number of suicides reported by the leading transgender institutes in Europe, which are a few years ahead of this country when it comes to treating true gender dysphoria. My question is why some of you are apparently so transphobic that you deny, suppress, and refuse to inclusively #Listen to the diverse lived experiences of suffering people whose feelings may differ from your own, by showing them empathy and compassion as if you value their humanity the same way you value others. Why do you devalue the humanity of these transgender people whose experience may be diverse from your own?

    The Utah Legislature and the Governor did not speak hatefully to ‘all trans people’ just because they #Listened to trans individuals speak their lived experiences of what happens when surgery and hormone blockers turn out to be the wrong answer for someone not feeling at home in their own body. There are other reasons besides gender that can cause individuals to not feel at home in themselves, and so showing the consequences when people choose permanent bodily changes which cannot be reversed, who find out later that this was not the correct treatment to help them, seems like very basic due diligence in assisting every person to make the best (most compassionate) choice for themselves given their own circumstances.

    People with male genitalia (no matter how they identify) should not be sharing bathrooms or changing spaces with people with female genitalia. It’s important to respect the feelings and safety of trans individuals, and it’s just as important to respect the feelings and safety of every other person in the room, since suppressing and dehumanizing anyone’s well-being can cause anguish and suicidal feelings, no matter how these persons identify: that’s humanity which we all share equally, which is why it’s important that everyone’s rights and well-being are considered and weighed with the equal caring value for each person impacted, every single individual person. (#Listen to women’s voices, with respect, since the cases of abuse The Chronic refuses to report or acknowledge most often fall upon this population~)

    No one gets precedence. Otherwise, someone is being systematically devalued and dehumanized as if they have less value, which is morally wrong and reprehensible, like saying bigotry is right, when we all acknowledge that hatred of any human being is wrong. No exceptions, and everyone’s value is equally represented and considered.

    The Editorial Board and their Marxist-Equity priesthood attempt to silence and suppress the voices of trans individuals whose lived experiences don’t agree with their feelings, like saying only the feelings of those who agree with Equity’s priesthood have value, or more to the point, only the human beings who agree with Equity’s feelings have equal human value in the eyes of Equity. They shout about hatred and bigotry being wrong in the middle of practicing hateful bigoted silencing of trans voices they disagreed with (like the YAF event). Now, some of the same “activists” are hatefully marginalizing the voices of women who don’t feel safe changing or sharing a restroom with people who have male genitalia, no matter how they identify (it’s not a trans issue). Isn’t the definition of hypocrisy to dehumanize innocent others for hateful behavior which you’re actually practicing yourself?

    To respect everyone’s humanity and dignity, without question, everyone should be allowed to use public restrooms, but people with male genitalia (trans or otherwise) should not be allowed to share bathrooms or changing spaces with people with female genitalia, since this protects and respects the safety and well-being of everyone equally. Is it so hard to respect everyone’s feelings as if their humanity and concerns are equal to your own? This is still basic Sesame Street stuff~!

    Is it really disrespecting your safety and feelings to equally respect the safety and feelings of everyone else involved, because if it is, this may not be a problem with the culture so much as a problem of individual maturity, respect, and considerate compassion being weighed on everyone’s behalf, because the consequences are the same, no matter which human being they’re affecting, and how is your humanity more valuable than others: it’s certainly not less, and we all agree on that.

    So, to recap, while The Chronic’s neo-Marxist ‘useful idiots’ preach about diversity and inclusion, they only mean inclusion of diversity which agrees with their prejudices and feelings, and to heck with everyone else, no matter how they look or identify. That’s racism, misogyny/misandry, homo/hetero-phobia, religious bigotry, ethnic stereotyping, and transphobia all rolled together, because if any diverse person from any group has an opinion or experience that doesn’t agree with the hatreds or prejudices of the Equity Red Guard, those transgender people are dehumanized, those LGBTQ+ folks are dismissed and excluded, those BIPOC & intersectional persons are demeaned and defamed falsely as haters, and so all individuals no matter how they look or identify are called bigots just for being themselves, for having their own lived experience and their own opinions based on that experience, and for having compassion for any whom the Prophets of Equity don’t have compassion for (the name Chloe Cole immediately comes to mind as someone whom they suppressed and dehumanized, but there are plenty of others).

    When will the Editorial Staff of The Chronic start being inclusive of diverse viewpoints in what they publish (while claiming their discrimination is compassion) as they systemically deny and attempt to silence the very same marginalized voices day after day which they falsely claim to represent in the name of Marxist-Equity’s needless division and factionalism, a deliberate campaign against the Love-based unity inherent in our common human identity?

    Reply