Open Letter From Provo City Mayor: Bring Back Civility

The mayor of Provo City, Utah recently penned an open letter calling for civility among his citizens in their daily discourse. Glenn read the mayor's letter during his radio program on Wednesday:

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. Did your mother teach you this also? Did you grow up believing in this motto like it was an all-powerful shield against bullies and trolls? All my life I walked around with at least some sense of confidence that words couldn’t hurt me.

I’m rubber, you’re glue

Whatever you say

bounces off me

and sticks to you.

For the seven years I’ve been mayor I have certainly had my fair share of complaints. I’ve read some heated emails. I’ve been called a plethora of names (believe me, I understand that comes with the job) but for most of the time I have been blessed to be the recipient of kindness and goodwill. Even in the face of strong disagreement we have come together with civility to work out our differences.

But recently I have noticed that the tide seems to be turning in public dialogue. Like a sewer leak deep beneath the surface, I feel a coarseness invading so many aspects of our lives. Even in our safe haven of Provo – a place known around the world for its kindness and concern of others.

For example, recently I received an email message from a citizen that ended with this line: “please … let [this] be the issue that sinks the mayor and his … awful arrogant deputy. Oh please oh please let them both be stripped of their clothing and carried out of the building …”

Similar to this email, in the last month I’ve heard accusations and disparaging comments of a very different nature than previous public dialogue. Engagement on all platforms—from social media to civic meetings are more sarcastic, biting, impatient, rude, aggressive and often all too personal. In the years of being mayor, I can strongly say this surge of negativity is not normal for our community.

So what’s going on?

I believe a majority of this comes from top down. Much of it has to do with the trickle-down effect of the conversation happening on the national stage. As we listen to those who have platforms as presidential candidates, we hear them use words that tend to be more cutting, more personal, more filled with spite.

The disparaging remarks in our own community are echoes of what we hear every single time we turn on the news, read the paper, or scroll through our Twitter timelines. It’s almost always there when we engage in a presidential discussion. Name-calling, bigotry, hate, attacks. The leaders on our national stage insist on using more and more syllables to pollute the air with words that incite, provoke and demean.

Not only do we need to worry about Supreme Court nominations, the economy and war, we now need to worry about the impact of negativity. From what I’m seeing in the community it’s as if the two candidates from the major political parties have issued us all a license to be rude without the thought of consequence.

I’m personally calling on our national leaders to understand how their contaminated actions and words seep into our local constituencies and how much we suffer because of it. I’m calling for a more civil discussion on issues like health care, immigration, national security, and jobs. We need them to take responsibility for changing the public discourse not only nationally but everywhere—in our states, cities, and homes.

I also call upon my fellow local elected leaders and residents to be that voice of civility. As a county, state, and community, we need more unity and less divide.

If we can’t expect decency from the top – let’s start it from the bottom.

Despite what our well-intentioned mothers taught us, words do hurt. They hurt all of us. Although I’ve experienced years of decent discourse I worry those days are over. We have a lot to lose in this election, let’s not lose our hearts as well.

John Curtis – Provo City Mayor

"He is absolutely right. And this is where I believe the hope will come from," Glenn said.

He then recalled a conversation from 2012 with a friend who lives by the mountains in Provo. The morning after the election was a difficult time for conservatives, who were devastated that Obama had been elected to a second term, allowing him to further transform America into a socialist nation.

Glenn's friend looked out her window and saw the morning sun coming up between a cut in the mountains, a single ray shining through.

"She saw this one shaft of light, and it came down on one house. And that shaft of light hit that one house . . . and it grew from that house to the next house to the next house to the next house. She said this is what we have to remember, that it's what we do in our own house, and it spreads from there. The sun does come up the next day, and we're going to be fine," Glenn recalled.

But darkness also spreads the same way, so we must remain vigilant.

"This is why, you know, I try to be more like George Washington. I'm a million miles away, but he's my hero. He's my archetype," Glenn said.

He continued.

"I was talking to a guy -- hard-working, blue-collar guy, he was at the set -- and we were standing at the loading dock over the weekend talking. He said, 'Glenn, I was working my whole life, and up until about eight years ago, six years ago, I didn't know jack. I wasn't paying attention at all,'" Glenn recalled.

To a certain extent, we're all "guilty," if you will, of the same thing -- just going about our lives, working hard and trusting in our elected officials to follow and respect the Constitution.

"We trusted that we all pretty much were the same, and that we were all pretty much wanting the same thing. And we all believed the same things and in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And when they were violated, we didn't really notice them being violated because we weren't on top of it. We weren't paying attention. We were allowing somebody else to take care of it," Glenn said.

But we all know that was a mistake. So where do we go from here? Can we get where we need to go?

"I'm on a journey, trying to be a better man, trying to be a better citizen, trying to be a better father, trying to be a better American, trying to be somebody who actually will listen, will have more compassion and will try to work with anyone who sees that the freedom of all men must not be violated. Can we get there? Yes, we can, if we all choose to be like the mayor of Provo," Glenn said.

The mayor's letter wasn't divisive or angry. He made it about him and the people who live in his town.

We asked our politicians to behave honorably and with integrity, but they failed. We can't change them, but we change ourselves and let that light spread through our families and friends. That's what can and always has made America great.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

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Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee Robert Francis "Beto" O’Rourke's disgusting and obviously-staged political stunt during a press conference about the Robb Elementary School massacre is just another of the many ways the man is "human trash," Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere agreed on the radio program Thursday.

"Beto is human trash. He is scum. He is the scum of the earth, the lowest form of humanity our society can produce," Stu said in response to a video clip of O'Rourke heckling Gov. Greg Abbott in the middle of an update on the tragic mass killing in Uvalde. "This was obviously staged from the beginning ... clearly planned. Even CBS News pointed out it was blatantly a staged event. And this guy [O'Rourke], because he wants more power and more money, decided that this event was about him. He wanted to make the [deaths] of 19 children and teachers all about Beto O'Rourke because he is human scum. He is the worst form of life imaginable on this Earth."

Democrats like O'Rourke have been quick to use the tragic deaths of 19 children to advance their own pro-gun law political agendas, particularly "red flag" laws that would empower courts to take guns away from "potentially dangerous" people

"You want a solution? Stop selling AR-15s in the state of Texas. You want a solution? Have universal background checks. We don't have them. You want a solution? Red flag laws or extreme risk protection orders, which stop a shooting before it happens," O'Rourke shouted after being escorted out of the press conference.

Glenn wasn't buying O'Rourke's "righteous indignation," especially as his own resurfaced writings qualify as the "ultimate red flag for any red flag law." As a teen, O'Rourke wrote about hacking, overthrowing the government, and, most disturbingly, murdering children by running over them with his car.

Glenn read an excerpt from a fiction O'Rourke wrote when he was 15 years old:

[O]ne day, as I was driving home from work, I noticed two children crossing the street. They were happy, happy to be free from their troubles. I knew, however, that this happiness and sense of freedom were much too overwhelming for them. This happiness was mine by right. I had earned it in my dreams.

As I neared the young ones, I put all my weight on my right foot, keeping the accelerator pedal on the floor until I heard the crashing of the two children on the hood, and then the sharp cry of pain from one of the two. I was so fascinated for a moment, that when after I had stopped my vehicle, I just sat in a daze, sweet visions filling my head.

"Dangerous, right? Nothing good's going to come of this. According to Reuters, those are the teenage writings of Beto O'Rourke," Glenn said. "The state of Texas should be very aware and not allow [O'Rourke] to buy a gun because of this. This guy, this guy, and his righteous indignation — give it a rest, bud. Give it a rest."

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Texas AG Ken Paxton says gun laws are NOT the answer, urges schools to arm teachers

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In the wake of the unspeakably grievous mass murder at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, many on the left are calling for increased gun control measures, but without specifying exactly what legislation could have prevented the horrifying event. Attorney General Ken Paxton says gun laws are not the answer. He joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail specific measures he believes could stop similar school atrocities in the future: arming teachers.

Paxton told Glenn that Texas has already put laws in place that allow schools to opt in to training and arming teachers as either a marshal or under the guardian program.

"We passed laws when I was in the Texas Senate, I think it was 2013, that would have helped greatly. There's no way that law enforcement can get to every location as fast as they would need to," Paxton said.

Glenn interjected, "I'll tell you, I went to a school where my son was playing football ... and there were signs all over. 'Beware. Teachers are armed. We take the Second Amendment and the protection of our students seriously.' It was so clear — not doing anything here. That's the way to do it."

"Yes," Paxton agreed. "I think that's the way it should be. I mean, these people [shooters], they know they're safe, at least until law enforcement gets there, to accomplish their goals. And we're going to keep seeing this happen until we decide as a state ... to protect these kids," he added.

"It's ridiculous for the Biden administration to suggest that this kid who decided to violate the murder laws would [think], 'Oh. Wait a minute, there's a gun law. I can't do this. I wouldn't violate gun laws.' It's law-abiding citizens that follow the law," Paxton continued. "Second, we have a fentanyl crisis that the Biden administration has presumably invited and we've had over 100, 000 people that overdosed and died from fentanyl. [...] Why isn't the Biden administration so concerned about the hundred and something thousand people that died from overdoses because they opened up the border and allowed fentanyl to come across?"

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In the wake of the horrific Buffalo shooting, the left-wing media tried to paint all conservatives as subscribers to “replacement theory” — the idea that immigrants are taking over to such an extent that they will destroy white Western civilization. Of course, no serious conservative believes in this ugly, racist, dangerous ideology, but there is a ton of ACTUAL replacement going on, and it has nothing to do with immigration or racism.

What we saw yesterday in Uvalde, Texas, is more dark horrific evidence of the only replacement theory that ultimately matters because it affects everything. We’ve replaced God in society. Glenn argues it’s why gun control is ultimately useless — even though he completely understands our human impulse to DO something. While our culture has replaced God for rot, the Biden White House and Democrats are also working overtime to replace key elements of American political, legal, economic, and cultural life.

BlazeTV host Mark Levin of “LevinTV” tells Glenn why Media Matters' latest hit job on him over his Uvalde coverage is pathetic. “Stop pushing God out of the public square” is not a radical concept to help prevent evil from taking hold in our schools. He also takes on the Democrats’ attempts to destroy the Supreme Court, voting rights, and the separation of powers.

BlazeTV host Allie Beth Stuckey of “Relatable” tells Glenn why she believes the Uvalde shooting reveals how we are failing young men in this country and what we must do to stop the replacement theory that threatens to keep an entire generation from becoming a benefit to society.

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Glenn Beck addressed the incomprehensibly tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on the radio program Wednesday, saying it's time to stop with the politics, from both sides, and focus on healing a nation that is tearing itself apart.

"It pains me to think about the political garbage that has happened in the last 12 hours," Glenn began. "I believe that we are on the verge of losing our nation, and the reason why we're about to lose our nation is the same reason some kid walked into an elementary school and shot and killed people. It's not the guns ... it's our society."

Glenn called the tragedies plaguing our nation' —kids shooting kids, committing suicide, dying from fentanyl, joining gangs, and suffering from depression and loneliness — are symptoms of a greater sickness.

"Where's the value of human life? The hatred that is being poured down our throats, the class division, the racism — make no mistake, it is intentional," he stated. "The best way to destroy a nation is to cut it apart. ... In our society, where are the ethics? What are ethics? It's your truth versus my truth. There is no absolute truth. And in a world where there is no truth, who gets to be God? Well, it depends on which group you're in I guess."

Glenn said America’s underlying problem is "a rotting in our soul" and until we "live in a nation that is willing to even recognize that there is something bigger than the self, and it has nothing to do with government, we'll never fix this problem."

"Let's not make this about Democrats and Republicans. Let's just make this about what the hell is going on because everything in our society is falling apart," he said. "And until you're willing to have that conversation, the rest of it is bullcrap."

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