OPINION: Who are the good old boys? If you don’t like it, leave

empty suit
Photo by MWanz

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.

Last week, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Provo’s ban on Sunday beer sales appears to be headed down the same path as Prohibition: toward repeal.

The article quoted Lois Kelson, who owns a chain of gas stations/convenience stores–two of which are in Provo–who said the policy is bad for business.

“With an ever-changing culture in our state and city, it makes more sense to accommodate our own citizens than have them go three miles down the road to Springville to purchase it, which is where we send them on Sunday,” Kelson wrote. “It is time to be more realistic in how we try to regulate the various cultures in our city and be more open-minded and accepting of other beliefs than the predominant population of the city.”

I could not agree more. And the message is a transcendent one sorely needed here in St. George. Alcohol sales notwithstanding, there is a need for the stranglehold placed on citizens and businesses here by the predominant monoculture to be loosened a little. Scratch that. A lot.

I hear it often said that this town is run by a good old boy network.

Anyone know exactly who this good old boy network is?

With the understanding that people tend to lump things they dislike or do not understand into categorical euphemisms, I have to say this may not be the case here. This is to say there is evidence to support the claim.

Want proof? Ask yourself the last time the St. George City Council had a dissenting vote on anything.

Ask yourself why a local business has to jump through endless hoops to open a dance club but other businesses owned and operated by friends, or those deemed acceptable by said monoculture, are given carte blanche it seems.

This behavior is hardly indigenous to St. George. It happens in cities and towns across America. But here in St. George, it has a somewhat unique flavor.

A little while back, I received a message on my home phone where a man told me if I did not like the way things are run in this town I could just leave. He did not like my articles and the audacity they sometimes display.

Also, I recently attended a conference where a local rancher whose family has been here for 100 plus years said he did not mind if people moved here, but that he wished they would all just join the church and stop trying to change the way things have been for 100 years.

Good old boys. There you have it. A predominant mindset of a few people who, because they have lineage in the settling of this awesome little town, and they have some semblance of divine authority granted them, think they can maintain a status quo of sorts regardless of anyone who disagrees with them.

And what is most disconcerting about this is the fact of it bleeding into our governance.

I do not mean at all to say that a religious sect governs us here but to not acknowledge that it has an overbearing and unchecked influence is just plain dishonest.

As a young man, I raised my right hand and swore a solemn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. I included Utah in that oath and I expect Utah and all its cities to abide the Constitution and the fundamental principles of the foundation of our country, which makes a distinct line between church and state.

I do not mind at all when a person’s personal convictions are a part of the fabric of their decision-making process, but when it becomes a mandate for others in the biased fashion implied by my anonymous caller and that rancher, I am painfully mindful of what is meant by a domestic enemy.

Listen people, it is natural to want to live in a place where things function seamlessly and everyone agrees on how things should be done politically, socially and economically. But is it realistic? Furthermore, is it fair?

Did not the pioneers who settled Utah do so in part because they were fleeing persecution much like those who founded this nation did?

These are parallels sorely in need of examination here in this state because the hypocrisy set forth by it is blatant to anyone who is not from here, but is American and holds its principles dear.

We face some very difficult and serious challenges as not only a city, but a nation. But woven in the fabric of our country are some of the greatest principles of liberty ever put into practice by a country and if we hold fast to them, we can overcome these challenges while maintaining that liberty.

If, however, we allow groups to operate outside of the principles set forth by the founders of this land, we simply get what we deserve.

We should be above letting good old boy networks operate among us. These networks and the narrow mentality they perpetuate need to be exposed.

How? Perhaps a stronger and more educated voice from the community is a good place to start.

See you out there.

dhyland@stgnews.com

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in Opinion / Columns / ShowsTagged ,

7 Comments

  • Tired of Cry Babies October 4, 2011 at 8:21 am

    You stated, “Did not the pioneers who settled Utah do so in part because they were fleeing persecution much like those who founded this nation did?”

    Maybe that’s the answer to your problem. When it gets to the point that you can’t take it any longer, it’ll be time to pack up and flee. Until then let’s get it so we can buy liquor at Costco at the price it sells for in Calif and Nevada.

  • Hogrider October 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    More than personalities, the reason St George is what it is relates to commonly held values. Wholesomeness, honesty, friendliness, cleanliness, family, all contribute to the sense of community we have here. Good ol’ boys? Perhaps. But I interact daily with those good ol’ boys who operate the city, and they do so without regard to race, religion, etc, but what is good and praiseworthy and will benefit the citizenry is their motivation. Funny thing is that what people complain about the most is exactly what brought them here in the first place. Little crime, lots of activities (and alcohol doesn’t need to be a part of that either), a great place for kids. It is working. Why change?

  • Ralph October 4, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Why do St. George News writers all believe that St. George is a little town? You called it an “awesome little town.” Other writers on SGN have called it a “quaint little town” etc.

    St. George is not a little town. It is a city with city problems. Please stop thinking that it is and calling it so in your articles.

    I don’t know who the good ole boy network is either. It seems that you mistakenly think that majority opinion is the network. Majority rule and local governance are two beautiful aspects of our existence. The minority always whines about the majority. That is all that St. George has and until the minority becomes the majority, they will be whining.

    Sadly, the whole Washington County area is so beholden to growth and development it is inevitable that someday the majority will change.

  • Cale October 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Dear self:
    “When was the last time the St. George City Council had a dissenting vote on anything?”
    Self: “I don’t know.”

    Dear self:
    “Why did a local business have to jump through endless hoops to open a dance club but other businesses owned and operated by friends, or those deemed acceptable by said monoculture, are given carte blanche it seems.”
    Self: “To which businesses do you refer and what are the facts surrounding the ‘hoops’ and ‘carte blanche’ of which you ask?”

  • Blit Zen October 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I hope the readers on here also read the comments on your Facebook site. I strongly agree with your article and unless your in the minorty, you have no idea the challenges we face in this community. GREAT ARTICLE!!

  • -Mike- October 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Like my Jamaican friend once said, “People are always afraid of what’s different.” Things around here can change and still be the safe, family-oriented place everyone wants it to be.

    @Hogrider: “Funny thing is that what people complain about the most is exactly what brought them here in the first place. Little crime, lots of activities (and alcohol doesn’t need to be a part of that either), a great place for kids.” Do people really complain about low crime, too many activities, and having a good place for their kids? I’m pretty sure that’s a no. People DO complain about narrow-minded government officials who are afraid of making changes to accommodate the growing diversity in St George, when it will only help people to feel more welcome and thus reduce said “whining”.

    I think the problem right now is that the current government officials, many of whom have been in office for many years, don’t reflect the current diversity that has come to be in more recent years. It’s nobody’s fault, and it’s just a product of what used to be our growing economy. Once the minority gets large enough to be heard, the views of the city councils will begin to more accurately represent the community. Will it happen this year? I hope so, as it seems like we might have some movements big enough to start the change.

    Until then, we have to suck it up and play the game as it’s meant to be played. People whine, and eventually things change… then people whine again, and things change some more. Hey, it’s like the city carousel! ‘Round and ’round we go.

  • Firefly October 5, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Great article Dallas. If you think the “good ole boy network” is bad now, you should have seen it 22 years ago when I first arrived here in So. Utah. It was bad then and it continues to be bad now. I kind of agree that it will eventually it will change, but I see that a long ways coming. Unfortunately, some people are just fine the way it is (mostly the “network”). More exposure of this will bring to light some of the ugly truths that many ignore. Once again, the article was spot-on, keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.