Every so often people will find the Alliance for a Better UTAH website with the keyword string: “political affiliation alliance for a better utah.”
I always feel a little discouraged when that search term comes up. In my experience, political affiliation is frequently used as a shortcut for accepting or rejecting an organization’s or person’s policy choices without ever having to get to know that organization or person.
This is a big deal in Utah. Even though Utahns are less conservative on the issues, they are overwhelmingly Republican. Which to me suggests that far too many people are voting based on party identification, rather than issue identification.
In today’s increasingly polarized political climate, there is the misperception that political beliefs can be lumped into one of two political parties, Democrat or Republican. When people are feeling unusually generous, they may lump people into the categories Liberal or Conservative–but even then, these descriptors have become little more than polite metonyms for the political organizations in the existing two-party system.
Despite what our detractors may think, Better UTAH doesn’t have a political affiliation; we’re particularly proud of that independence. Our board members include both Republicans and Democrats, and some are even unaffiliated.
All too often, both the media and lay public use identifiers like Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, as a sort of mental shortcut (think: stereotype), to either encourage acceptance or rejection of our positions without really ever having to know what our positions are, without really ever taking the time to learn about us.
There are good liberal ideas and there are good conservative ideas. And there are a whole lot of good ideas that don’t fit either of those descriptors. As a good government group, those are the ideas we stand for. Ideas like balance, transparency and accountability in Utah government.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing blog posts discussing those three ideas. Until then, this image provides a nice starting point.
If you’re interested in learning where we stand on more specific issues, I hope you’ll spend some time on the website, clicking through the issues menu above. I think you’ll be surprised with how reasonable our positions are.