Utah Needs Social Change

Utah Needs Social Change


In April of 2016, Gary Herbert, the Governor of Utah, made national headlines, and not necessarily in a positive light. He declared porn to be a “health hazard”, and introduced education programs for the state to solve the global dilemma. The issue became a trending topic on Facebook, where the move was ridiculed around the world, and brought about many questions about the governor: Does he have a porn addiction? What type of porn is he into? Is there a looming sex scandal that will engulf him, which has been the fate of many of his fellow Republican comrades? And is it time for a change at the Governors position in the state of Utah?

Herbert began as the Governor of Utah in 2009, after Jon Huntsman was offered to be the ambassador to China by President Obama. He has seen a lot of change occur throughout his term. For one, Utah has become to be recognized as one of the country's hidden gems, as there has been thousands of job opportunities that are opening up across the state. The air pollution has also improved, though admittedly not at the pace that will fix the issue entirely. The state also took a surprising stand on Syrian refugees too. While many Conservative states have rushed to block migrants from entering their land, Utah has decided to keep their doors open to them. It is an impressive social stand for the state, but most other issues involving social policy have been far behind the modern day America.

One of his major social battles has been against gay marriage, which has occurred throughout his reign as governor. In 2013, a U.S. district court legalized same sex marriage in Utah, which made Herbert have a hissy fit. He declared that he was “ very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah. I am working with my legal counsel and the acting Attorney General to determine the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah.” Following decisions in other states that struck down gay marriage bans, he called the move a tragedy, and a step towards anarchy. Eventually, Utah passed an anti discrimination bill based on gender and sexual orientation in 2015, which was actually a major step forward for the state. As some states are moving backward with anti LGBT bills, Utah is surprisingly one of only nineteen states has a bill like this that protects females and the LGBT community. Herbert is still making many anti LGBT moves, as he spoke for a group last summer that opposes gay marriage, premarital sex, and abortion.

Herbert has also been a strong opponent of Planned Parenthood. Herbert has defunded Planned Parenthood for the state, which has led from local outcry. Herbert's reasoning involved the P.P. videos that were leaked last summer, which were found to be extremely doctored. Planned Parenthood ended up suing the Governor, and suit is still ongoing. As the organization pointed out in their press release announcing the lawsuit, Herbert is only focused on the doctored videos, along with the fact that defunding them would destroy many sex ed courses that they provide across the state. Unfortunately, what the Governor misses about Planned Parenthood is that they provide fantastic amount of sexual education, and provides contraceptives to lower income communities in order to reduce the amount of pregnancies and abortions that occur. It is ironic that most of the highest pregnancy rates in this country occur in area who have no Planned Parenthoods, which leads to a lack of access to contraceptives.

One of the most concerning stories about Herbert came out this year involving his campaign fund raising tactics. A leaked tape showed Herbert desperate to gain money for his twenty sixteen campaign. He called himself available at any time possible to meet with lobbyists, in order to gain money and donations for his campaign. Both challengers from the Republican and Democratic side criticized Herbert’s rhetoric, which they claim showed his corruption and inability to lead. Herbert apologize to what he said, but proclaimed that what he did was not illegal.

Is it time for a change? In my opinion, it is. In spite of the fact that Utah is becoming a hotspot for business, there are many problems that need to be addressed. Socially, there are many groups that are being persecuted, and this will not change anytime soon. Air Pollution is still a massive problem during the winter, and Herbert has yet to develop an effective plan to eliminate the problem. Utah has two choices for replacing Herbert. He is running against Jonathan Johnson, who is a board member on Overstock.com. Johnson’s platform is based on less state government intervention, barring Syrian refugees from entering Utah, second amendment rights, no new taxes, and opposition of common core. The candidate that I will be voting for is Mike Weinhold, who is part of the Republican Democratic party. He is focused a lot on social issues, such as women's rights, tax increases for the top 1.5%, solving Salt Lake City’s air pollution problem, protecting water, expanding Medicaid, and improving the education system. These types of proposals are completely foreign to the state, and are initiatives that Utah will need to become a influential state that is pressed down by Conservative values.

Cover Image Credit: King of Wallpapers

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.


This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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