Every time the Utah Legislature calls itself to session, I get a vision of Utahns scurrying to their houses, drawing their shutters, bolting their doors and cowering in fear, as in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when the Vulgarian army storms the village square in search of their children.
But instead of losing their children, Utahns are fearful of losing more of their rights.
Just in this session alone, Latinos are fearful the legislature will strip them of state-sanctioned identification, alcohol drinkers are afraid they won't be able to buy bitch-beer in stores any longer, Salt Lake gays and lesbians may lose their ability for couple roll-call, bar owners are braced for another round of restrictions, and who knows what other non-self-righteous groups walk the streets with a look of terror in their eyes.
About the only people free from fear are gun packers and pet abusers. (No David, I didn't say they were the same group of people.)
Try this. Google "fear Utah Legislature" and you will find over two million results. That's one for every man, woman and child in the state.
In Utah's Vulgaria, Sen. Chris Buttars plays the role of the evil rights catcher, smelling out anything that might be considered a benefit or right by people he doesn't like. (And his list is long.)
"You have to know where to look, like in the cracks in the walls, in the woodwork!"
Gayle Ruzicka plays the hateful Baroness. And we play the role of the syrupy-sweet children at times, "You're a nasty, horrid mean old lady!" "And very ugly!"
And she is.
No, really, I mean it. David Nelson, Stuart Merrill and Toni Johnson can tell me until they are blue in the face how nice she is, but I think she's a horrid, mean old lady. And ugly. Very ugly.
But (as Ruby always says), I digress.
Chris Buttars is ugly too.
But why do Utahns elect these people who inspire not hope, not happiness, but fear and loathing? Do the people in West Jordan really think that Chris Buttars represents their views? Even half the time? Do the people of Spanish Fork really like the nuclear-waste-loving Aaron Tilton?
Assignment two: Google "Aaron Tilton sucks." You get nearly 23,000 results. That's the popluation of Spanish Fork. I'm not making this up.
Utah has a reputation of being overly-friendly, overly-cheery and just, dogone-it, nice people. Why do we elect so many hateful, bitter legislators?
Is it that Utahn's don't take their Prozac on election day? Is it that we can't get a drink during an election? Utahns take three times the amount of anti-depressants as those in New Jersey (New Jersey!). Could it be that happy pills make you vote for cranky politicians?
The legislature's reputation is well-earned. The fault lies squarely on the electorate.
Maybe we can help them fix it. We are, after all, gay. What's more happy than that?