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Podcast: How we all can expect more of ourselves and others

Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox spoke at the news conference on suicide awareness on Sept. 7, 2018.
Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox spoke at the news conference on suicide awareness on Sept. 7, 2018.
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

We hope you enjoy listening to this episode of Therefore, What? — a podcast from Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson — and hope you will consider subscribing. You can find and subscribe to this and other podcasts from the Deseret News at You can also find us on iTunes, on the Apple Podcast App or on Google Play. And remember to rate this episode and write us a review. The following is a transcript of the episode. It's been edited for clarity.

Boyd Matheson: Rage is all the rage. Weaponizing words and the weaknesses of others is where many politicians spend their days. Social media has created an America that is no longer a melting pot, but a place where you can deploy divisive rhetoric to melt down those who disagree with you. Leaders aren't leading and are actually avoiding crucial conversations, contempt towards others is a cancer in our communities. How do we cure the nation's contempt, unite around principles and values, and at minimum, put civil back in civil dialogue and debate? Utah's lieutenant governor Spencer Cox weighs in on this week's edition of Therefore, What?

Therefore, What? is a weekly podcast that breaks down the news while breaking down barriers, challenges you and the status quo, explores timely topics and timeless principles, and leaves you confident to face what's next. I'm Boyd Matheson, opinion editor for the Deseret News, and this is Therefore, What? Very pleased today to be joined by Spencer Cox, lieutenant governor of the great state of Utah. Thanks for joining us.

Spencer Cox: It's great to be with you, Boyd, thanks for having me.

BM: We've got so many things going on in the country. It doesn't seem you can turn a radio, TV or internet connection on without somebody yelling and screaming about something. You've been around the political block a few times and seen that. What's your assessment of where we are as a country today?

SC: Well, I wish I could be a little more optimistic. But every time I think we've hit the bottom, we find a new bottom and I started to realize maybe there isn't a bottom. Certainly it's discouraging, what we're seeing at the national level with the divisiveness, the type of rhetoric that we're seeing, and the debasing of institutions, I think it's something — you and I have had these conversations now for years, but it's certainly gotten worse over the last couple years. And the last few months feel like, hopefully, a bottom of some sort. A tipping point, maybe.

BM: Yeah, we can only hope that. And it seems like at the national level, it is just so heated, so over the top. And both sides of the aisle are equal to blame. But as you travel around the state, how do you see it playing out here locally?

SC: You know, not nearly like my colleagues, when I talk to them, and what they're seeing across the country. Utah seems to be an outlier in a positive way. There is, you know, regardless of what side you're on, there seems to be a rejection, mostly, of that type of rhetoric. We certainly don't see it at the legislative level here. But even down in the trenches, and some of the polling we've done has shown that as well, that where people do disagree, and they feel strongly about things, but they don't hate the way that we're seeing at the national level. Yeah. And so that part does give me hope. I mean, I think that Utah has an opportunity here to really be an example to the nation about how we can collaborate, work on things together, find some common ground with people that we disagree with. We certainly have examples of that. And I know we're going to talk about a few of them throughout the podcast, but there are good things happening, and there seems to be at least at some level of rejection of what we're seeing in Washington, D.C.

BM: I found it so interesting this week, obviously, as the hearings continue to go on, in terms of Judge Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court, there's almost a confirmation bias, literally confirmation. And it seems like nobody's moved on either side, that people have kind of made up their minds. And so we're back to this talking past each other again, as opposed to having real conversations about real issues.

SC: You know, my staff and I had this conversation today. The Kavanaugh issue feels like one of those exam questions that one of my law professors would have made up for an exam, you know, these impossible fact patterns, where they're, you know, on this hand, but on the other hand, but on the other hand, right, there's no resolution, there's no end to that discussion. And I had one of my staff members today who said to me, you know, he said, I can't believe how each side can't see the other side's point of view on this one. And certainly, as I travel around, you mentioned the confirmation bias. And if you are unwilling to look outside of yourself, and try to see the other side, boy, there's so much to confirm your own biases in this one, whichever side of this you're on.

BM: Yeah, that's right. You know, I had this interesting experience one time where we were getting ready to film a back and forth, a little political discussion. And the person who was supposed to be arguing against what I was supposed to be arguing up for didn't show. And there were three people on the panel. And so they asked me, Hey, could you just represent the other side?

SC: Wow.

BM: And at first I though yeah, that'll be easy. I know what they're about. But then I had to sit down for about 10 minutes and actually prepare and recalibrate. So I started to think through it. And I think there's great merit to arguing for the other side. To at least, as you said, you know, being able to at least take into consideration where the other side is coming — it was one of the best things that ever happened to me, because it caused me to think I still disagree with them. But I totally get why they're upset with this, or they're frustrated with that. How do we how do we get to that point?

SC: Man I, that is a great lesson. I wish everybody had the opportunity to do that. It happened to me, actually, in high school. I had a teacher in high school in one of our classes, who would ask us beforehand, what is your opinion on this? And we'd kind of raise our hands, and then he would assign us the opposite topic. And it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Because, first of all, it makes it makes your argument stronger. If you can see the other side, then you're better able to at least maybe convince the other side of what your position is.

But more importantly, I often found that there was truth, sometimes on the other side, and maybe not the whole truth, maybe not everything I believed in, but I could see parts of it, that made me much more compassionate, empathetic and understanding for what they're going through. And this is one of those where I really wish people would do that. I wish the Kavanaugh defenders would step out and say, look, we do have a problem in this country. And we, especially had a problem 30 years ago, when it comes to the treatment of women and the behavior of men and their actions around women. At the same time, trying to understand how someone who believes and maybe is completely innocent through all of this, that they can see their life being destroyed by an allegation that they believe is completely false, and how that can be misconstrued and dangerous in a society where we absolutely believe in innocent until proven guilty, and all of those competing interests that go into it.

BM: Yeah, and to me, one of the real precarious things I think we're looking at as we've continued to have this undermining of trust in institutions and government in general. Now we're looking at the Supreme Court and there's some Pew research out there that's also interesting, that is showing for the first time in our history, our trust in each other as individuals is starting to decline. It used to be if you asked someone a question, is your neighbor trustworthy? That was a 70-plus percent answer for the entire country, of course I trust my neighbors, I know my neighbors, I trust them. But now that number is down into the low 20s, and among millennials it's down into the teens, that now we're really starting to tug at that fabric of society. If we stop trusting each other altogether, we have a whole different set of problems.

SC: So I hadn't heard those numbers yet but very sobering and problematic for sure. You know those institutions that you mentioned, the Supreme Court, our government institutions, again foundational to who we are, but the foundation of those institutions is this idea of trust and being able to trust one another even when we disagree. And if you look back through history at the times where that trust has been frayed, the consequences are pretty severe and that's definitely troubling. I would posit without seeing the numbers that those numbers are much higher in Utah, which I feel confident in. Certainly the right track, wrong track numbers we often see, where Washington, D.C., Utahns usually think is on the wrong track, but in Utah, we feel like we're mostly on the right track and we tend to believe in each other and support our fellow Utahns, but that's rough. I'm almost speechless.

BM: Well, one last thing, just as it relates to the Kavanaugh hearings, because so often the rhetoric, the anger, the angst, the frustration, the fundraising that goes on from both sides is so exhausting, but it often keeps us from really important conversations. And I think a couple things that have been completely lost in the Kavanaugh hearings is, should we not be having a conversation about underage drinking? Should we not be having a conversation about well, maybe morals do matter, maybe the way we view each other not as objects for sexual pleasure, but as human beings and people — I think there's a couple of conversations to be had there.

SC: Well, I'm troubled that it has been lost in all of this. I mentioned this to a couple of people just today, actually, that hopefully this is a cautionary tale to young people. Certainly, you know, I have young kids. I have four kids under the age of 20 now. My oldest is 19, my youngest is 11, almost 12. And we have these conversations with them. You kind of think that, you know, the stuff we do now doesn't matter. But it does have lifelong consequences. And certainly, underage drinking and drug use. That's not something that happened just 30 years ago. It's stuff that's happening today. Fascinating.

I was listening to a podcast on the the Clinton era scandals called "Slow Burn" from Slate, and fascinating podcast, I highly recommend it. But one of the latest episodes was talking about the divide in the feminist movement at the time. And I wasn't aware that this divide existed. But it's a divide between what they kind of refer to as the libertines and the prudes. Now I'm obviously not the person to be speaking on behalf of the feminist movement. But it was fascinating to see some of those arguments from feminists at the time, that, you know, affectionately referred to as the prudes that there could be no consent between a president and an intern, a young intern, because of the disparity there. And the other side saying, no, you know, use your body however you want, in any way possible. And certainly there are arguments to be made about the oppression of women by men, but what they're talking about here is that happiness and joy, right, and where those foundations of happiness and joy come from. And if you want to avoid trouble, man, you know, underage or sex outside of marriage is known to lead to lots of issues, right? Lots of very problematic societal issues. And the underage drinking, or over drinking or drinking in general, regardless of your age, your status, if you're not in control, and it can lead to heartbreak and problems throughout life. So yeah, I think these are important discussions to be having, and we're certainly having them with our kids.

BM: Yeah, good. Well, let's shift into that leadership space. Because I do think it's going to require a next generation of leadership to move beyond this rhetoric and all the things we're seeing in Washington, and less so locally here in Utah. I know you've done a lot of study around leadership, and one of my favorite pieces of leadership is the leaders who are willing to go to tough places, to go where they're not necessarily wanted or needed, or where they might even be despised, or ridiculed, but willing to go into those spaces so that it's, you know, we have so much preaching to the choir or people in their own, you know, confirmation bias bubbles. I know you have a connection, and an emotional connection in terms of what Bobby Kennedy did on the night that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

SC: Yeah, so this is something that I've talked about before and shared. And again, I know Republicans aren't supposed to talk about Democrats in such a way.

BM: May be one of the best speeches ever given.

SC: It really is and I would encourage people to go and search it out. Because here he is on again, Martin Luther King Jr. has just been assassinated, you know, he's scheduled to deliver a campaign speech. He's out — speaking of a troubling period in history, the assassination of his brother and Martin Luther King, and then his own, you know, his own assassination. But he goes into the inner city into this black neighborhood, and he, they didn't have the internet then, right? They didn't know this had happened. And he's the one that delivers to them this news that this has happened and then off the cuff, you know, kind of back of the napkin. In fact, literally, yeah, he just jotted this down on his way there. And his staffers told him not to do it, like not to go, cancel it, you know.

BM: The police even said they couldn't protect him.

SC: Yep, they said, we're out of here. And he gets up and just gives one for the ages. Right? And he talks about that concept of look, you have every right to be mad, you have every right to be angry. And I wouldn't blame you. But we can be better and, we can do better. And man. It just every time I read it, it just gets me and I know you're a fan too.

BM: Yeah. And his line as he gets to really the compassion component that I think we so often are losing in our leaders. They're becoming more and more transactional and political than having that compassion and relationship. But you know, when Bobby Kennedy said, I know what it's like to have a brother senselessly killed by another person, but we're better than this and we can use this day to be angry or we can use it to move forward.

SC: Well and from a leadership perspective, and this is what you're referring to about politicians today being transactional and talking point politicians, you know, it's all so fake and so phony and I think people are tired of it. I do think it's one of the reasons that Donald Trump resonated and was elected was because at least he wasn't like all the other buffoons out there

BM: Poll tested, consultant certified.

SC: Exactly, exactly. But at the same time, one of the things that I struggle with, with President Trump, is the divisiveness that he uses for gain. There was a cartoon that I saw, actually just earlier today, where there's kind of a king and his servant, and there's an angry mob out in front of him, and they all have pitchforks. And his servant says, it says, oh, you don't need to fight them, you just need to convince the pitchfork people that the torch people want to take away their pitchforks. And that's leadership by division. And what Bobby Kennedy did there was to be very vulnerable, to put himself in a vulnerable situation, to admit that he, you know, on one hand, didn't know what they were going through that, you know, as a white, privileged person, you know, he couldn't really understand what you're going through, but he did have this life experience. And he drew on that life experience to express empathy and love and compassion for them. And then to call them to something better, to a higher purpose, let's be better than this, we're a better country than this. And that, to me, is what the best leaders have done throughout history. They've not run away from the problems, they've recognized the problems, in fact, they've immerse themselves in the problems, but they've also shown a better way, they try to lift people up and bring people together. And that's what's desperately lacking in the country today.

BM: You mentioned this idea of vulnerability in leaders. And I call it that courageous vulnerability, that we have to really get to. Here at the Deseret News, we've been focused so much on teens and anxiety, teens and stress.

SC: And by the way, just great stuff. I mean, we read it with our kids, you know, they're in that stage where there's a lot of anxiety, a lot of pressure on them. Of course we're seeing suicide rates in the state. I just really have to say that I appreciate what you've been doing here at the Deseret News. It hasn't gone unnoticed.

BM: It's been great and our InDepth team have just really knocked it out of the park in terms of great resources, great opportunities there. And it's led to a lot of those courageously vulnerable kinds of conversations. And it's an aspect of your leadership that you've been willing to show some of your vulnerability around some of those issues, around anxiety and depression, and so on. Share just a little bit in terms of your engagement on what I think is one of the critical issues, not just for the state of Utah, but really across the country.

SC: Yeah, so I'd been asked to go and speak with a group in northern Utah, up in Box Elder County, and they had a community event surrounding suicide, and suicide prevention and awareness, and bringing people together. And, you know, I had kind of my talking points that my staff that helped me prepare to speak on, you know, here's the statistics in Utah, here's what we need to do to overcome it. And I'm sitting there listening to parents who have lost children, to children who have lost parents, and they're telling their stories, and I'm like, man, this is powerful. And there is a power in truth, and storytelling and that courageous vulnerability that you talked about. And compared to what they were doing, this is not courageous at all. But I just realized that at that time, I'd really never shared my story. I'd never really vocalized it outside of maybe a couple people that I had struggled as a teenager. My parents got divorced when I was 10 years old, from a small Mormon town, in central Utah, where that didn't happen very much back in the early 80s, and then going to middle school and being bullied. I got shoved in a garbage can the first week of school in middle school as kids were walking down the hall, and just a really dark period of my life and wondering if the world would be a better place without me. I had those thoughts often. And I thought I was the only one having those thoughts and was embarrassed at having those thoughts which, in turn just made it spiral downward.

Now I was very fortunate to be surrounded by incredible people. And even though I didn't talk to them about it, I think they sensed it, and they worked hard to help me get in a better place. And eventually, I came through that. I had a stepmom that was just incredible, who really helped me, and a leader at my church who took notice of me and took an interest in me when he didn't have to, and those things literally saved my life. I believe that. So I shared that for the first time and not realizing, again, the impact that would have on me, the impact that it would have on others by sharing that. And so it's something I've tried to do more broadly, especially talking to our youth and giving them space to understand that one, lots of people have those thoughts, you're not alone. You're not alone. There's not something wrong with you, because you had those thoughts, there's something wrong with following through on those thoughts. And that's where we need to talk and really trying to change the environment, making an environment where those subjects aren't taboo. Where we can open up, where — I like to use the example of a broken arm. You know, I broke my hand, my thumb during baseball tryouts when I was in high school. And I ask kids, you know, if you broke your arm, would you hide it from people? No, what do we do, we show up with our cast on and everybody signs it, right. That's what we do. We're excited, I broke my arm, I'm cool now. And yet when something's broken inside of us, we don't share it, we're embarrassed to share it. And we shouldn't. Because it's much more common than we think. And so those things that feel vulnerable, when we do them, it ends up being the exact opposite. There's a real power in it. And, and it allows us to help other people.

BM: That's great. We appreciate your leadership in that space. And your ability to create space for people to share their stories and get the help that they need. Really critical across the country. I want to shift to another area where you've been a great leader in our community, and that's dealing with the homelessness, the drug epidemic, those things that are happening, particularly downtown and the inner city components to this. It's so interesting, and I love your approach to all of this, from the time we're in kindergarten, we're taught that if we want to understand something we have to label it, we have to group it, we have to compare it, we have to define it. And while that may be fine for the sciences and math, those very things prevent us from having compassion. If I see a homeless person and I immediately start to classify them and group them as a druggie or a partier or loser and start to go through all that, I have no chance to compassionately help them in any way. So as you've looked at the project here in Utah, Operation Rio Grande, what are some of the lessons that you've learned as you've tried to lead in that space?

SC: Well, I love that question. I love that lead in. You know, I don't know that I've ever really looked at it that way. But everything you just said is so true, about compartmentalizing the way we describe people, even the way we talk about them. The othering of the human race, which is so dangerous. and look, it's like everything else. Every time in your life when you've gone out of your way to get to know someone who was different than you, it's always ended up better than than expected. It's hard at first and then you're grateful you've done it, and so taking those opportunities, and I was very fortunate to have people — you know in Sanpete County where I'm from we don't really have homeless people. We have poverty and we have a tremendous amount of it and intergenerational poverty is another big issue, but you know this was a new experience and as lieutenant governor one of my assignments is homelessness.

I don't know what I'm doing, so great people like Pamela Atkinson and other community stalwarts who are engaged in this space gave me an opportunity. Representative Steve Eliason one day said to me, hey, you know why — this was four years ago — why don't we go spend some time down at the shelter? Like sure I'd love to go visit the shelter. He's like, nah, what if we really went to the shelter? Like, what are you talking about, and just an incredible experience, no one knew were coming, I put my farm clothes on. And we just showed up one night, we checked ourselves in, spent the night, talked to as many people as we could talk to. And I learned more in that 18 hours than the years before or the years since about a very vulnerable population. And so when it came time to really focusing on what we could do to fix things there, you know, I fell back on the principles that I believe are truth and they're principles that you and I have talked about. I believe in politics, in religion, in life, and work, things I learned on the farm. And they're very simple. And the first one is, we have to be responsible for our actions, no matter what, you know, we have laws in place, and my wife talks about this, back on the Kavanaugh thing, with our kids, you know, we teach them, we certainly hope that nothing would happen. But we also can't shield them from the consequences of those actions as teenagers. And so when we have these laws, they haven't been enforced here, we have to start enforcing those laws as a baseline. But at the same time, I also believe that we should expect more of each other. I believe that people rise to their expectations, our children too. Sometimes we set the expectations way too low. And for our friends experiencing homelessness, I mean, these are real people who are just like us, some of them were in the same position we were, and maybe they had a knee surgery, they got some opioids, they got hooked on it, couldn't get off. And before you know it, they're on the street. Others of them have just been dealt terrible hands, many of them have mental illness, you know, addiction, all of these things, but we should raise expectations for them. And so that's what we did.

The second thing is that we should help people. That's what we do best here in Utah, right? We lead the nation of volunteerism and charitable giving every year. So how can we help people that have addiction, people that are suffering? Well, let's get them treatment. You know, we're going to hold them accountable. But when they're ready, when they want treatment, we're going to give it to them. So we doubled the number of treatment beds in the valley, which was huge. And then the third one is, I believe, you know, my dad taught me from an early age on the farm that you always feel better about yourself — I know, you don't want to go out and move the sprinkler pipe, I know you don't want to haul hay, I know you don't want to milk that cow. But I promise you, you'll feel better about yourself afterwards. And every time, he's right. I mean, I can lay on the couch and watch football and I love it. But I always feel better when I've done something, worked for something. So the dignity of work, once you've gotten treatment, once you're ready, we're going to find a job for you. And we're going to help you stay in that job. We're going to give you every opportunity possible, and we're going to expect you to take advantage of that. And many of them have and it's changing their lives. And it's amazing to see. Again, very simple things that make a huge difference.

BM: Great. As as we come down the homestretch, I want to kind of come full circle now as we've talked about some leadership issues around some really important topics, to get back to this idea of elevating the conversation and moving that forward. I know you've got a great podcast that I love to listen to because it's actually fun, it's actually a real conversation. So share just a little bit of terms of what you're doing with the with Cox and Friends as a podcast, because I think it's a very inviting and very safe space, I think, for people to go into but actually to come away with some really great insight.

SC: Well we hope so. And I have no idea what the podcast is, it's just something that we wanted to do. It's me and some of my great friends coming together to talk about all things Utah, really. We always start out with what we call nausea free politics, so we'll touch on some of the issues of the day, especially Utah related, but some nationally as well, and then we move on to things we love. Technology here in the state of Utah, food here in the state of Utah, sports here in the state of Utah, it's kind of a rollicking podcast, we do have some great guests that come on once in a while. We recently had McKay Coppins, with The Atlantic, who I know you know well and he's a friend of the state of Utah, great writer, and that was a lot of fun. We've had Gail Miller on as well and we'll do book reviews, we'll do a little bit of everything, so it's kind of a potpourri of all things Utah. My favorite parts, though, are obscure Utah history. We get into some really fun things that most people have no idea of happened in the recent past right here in our great state. So thank you.

BM: Our most recent, if we go all the way full circle here with the judge Kavanaugh, a very interesting bit of obscure Utah history. Some people realize that George Sutherland is the only Utahn to ever serve on the United States Supreme Court.

SC: That's correct, yes.

BM: But what most people don't realize is that when he was nominated, Sept. 5, 1922, by President Harding, Justice Sutherland was out of the country, he was in England on a speaking tour. He was nominated at 9 a.m. in the morning and before the sun set on Sept, 5, he was confirmed.

SC: Wow. That I did not know.

BM: By unanimous voice vote. I don't know if we can ever have that again.

SC: Yes, things we will never see happen again. That's a perfect example.

BM: Last thing is, as you have served as the state's lieutenant governor, again, the people you've met, the places you've exerted leadership, give us one lesson to think about going away. What's something that you've learned that maybe you didn't expect to learn as lieutenant governor?

SC: Wow, that's a tough one. Because I didn't expect to be lieutenant governor. And the things I expected to learn were, I think, very few. It'll be five years next week that I was appointed to this kind of out of nowhere when lieutenant governor Greg Bell resigned. And I think what I have learned the most — and it's really the overriding theme to what you're talking about right now — it's the power of collaboration. It's the power of bringing people who are different together in a common cause. It's the thing that separates Utah, I think, from so many states, and certainly from Washington, D.C., right now. And Governor Herbert is tremendous at this. We've seen it on several issues. And just a couple, the LGBTQ issue is one where, you know, the governor, you know, he's old school for sure, he's a very conservative Republican. And yet, from the minute I came in, he said, this is a big issue, I want to talk to people who see the world differently than me. He would invite them in, he would have Equality Utah come up and meet with him and bring their people to come and talk to him. And most people have no idea that's even going on. And being able to reach through that. We've certainly seen that type of leadership on the refugee issue. At a time when Republican governors across the country were saying no more refugees in our state, our governor stood up and said, you know what, we still believe in the First Amendment which also includes the freedom of religion, we are a state filled with religious refugees. My great-great-great-grandparents had their home burned down by an angry mob out in Illinois in that area at the time. And we believe in that. And so doing kind of the unexpected by reaching across the aisle, listening and learning and loving one another. That's the best lesson I've learned. And it's something I hope we can continue for years to come.

BM: Fantastic. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, thanks so much for joining us.

SC: Thank you, Boyd.

BM: Therefore, What? A great conversation with the Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, so many takeaways, so many things that we could focus on in this Therefore, What? section. But I think one of the first things that stood out to me as I listened to the lieutenant governor today, and his unique experiences around the state and across the nation, was this idea that humility and empathy really are leadership traits. So often we think of humility as a sign of weakness or empathy as a sign that you're going to be a weak-kneed kind of leader. But they're really strengths. They put you in a position of strength, they put you in a position to actually help other people in a more significant way. And it also helps you actually lead people somewhere because they'll want to follow, they'll want to engage, they'll want to have the conversation that will ultimately lead to the best solutions.

I also love the fact that the lieutenant governor focused on everyone matters, even if you don't think you have a big title or a big position or a big job or a big role, everyone matters. And we've seen that this week, we've seen in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, that one voice of one person outside an elevator can literally change the direction of an entire day, debate and conversation. And so there's no just an anybody anywhere — there's no, I'm just a teacher, I'm just a worker, I'm just a manager, I'm just a neighbor — there's no just an anybody. Every voice matters, and can really be the ultimate deciding voice that can really change the direction and being willing to raise your voice, even when it's uncomfortable. I loved how we were able to discuss with the lieutenant governor his challenges growing up. Some of the things that he struggled with in terms of depression and thoughts of suicide and anxiety. And telling that story makes a difference for other individuals. And we see that play out over and over and over again. So never underestimate the power of one person. And what one idea, what one comment, one compliment, one conversation can do in terms of the direction of the country or the community. I also loved just that he has not lost his way from the farm, he is still very connected there. I love the lessons from his dad, that you still have to be responsible. Regardless of what happens. Repentance is real. We're all on some sort of road to redemption of one form or another. But there are consequences. And you have to be responsible for those things.

I love that the lieutenant governor really challenged us to expect more of ourselves and expect more of others. And too often we just settle. We need to expect more, not less, of each other, especially our conversations in the public square. And whether that's on social media, whether that's in public debates, or conversations or disagreements, we have to learn to expect more of each other to elevate the dialogue and the conversation. And then the last lesson he shared from his father, which is awesome: work works. You always feel better about yourself when you're doing something. I believe it was Neil Maxwell that said that work would always be a spiritual necessity for human beings, even when physical work was no longer required. And I think that's a great takeaway, a great Therefore, what? Work works, and you always feel better.

And then finally, the power of collaboration. Oneness is not sameness in America, nor in our communities. But when we set aside our egos, we're willing to listen and have conversations to get beyond that contempt that's so prevalent around the country and in our politics today, but then we can really collaborate, we can really get to, not just what we think is the best solution, but what is the best solution. And being able to do that together is really what gives us hope that the country can transcend the negativity, the angry rhetoric, the rage, the weaponization of words. All of those things can be done when we collaborate, when we come together in our families and neighborhoods and community. Ultimately that will drive the country. Remember after the story is told, after the principles are shared, after the discussion and debate have been had, the question for all of us is Therefore, What? Don't miss an episode, subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcast or wherever you're listening today, and be sure to rate this episode and leave us a review. Follow us on and subscribe to our newsletter. This is Boyd Matheson, opinion editor for the Deseret News, thanks for engaging with us as we answer the question Therefore, What?