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:

Enjoy this complimentary clip from The Glenn Beck Program:

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

Featured Image: Wiki Commons

I'm going to introduce you to what is by far the most annoying trend on social media involving a particular emoji. The annoying online trend features the clapping emoji 👏 in 👏 between 👏 each 👏 word.

The technique is most often used — unironically — by the social justice types to express indignation or condescension.

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It's meant to imply that the person who is writing the message is so much more "woke" than you that they are righteously allowed to clap in your face. Just looking at it is enough to test your blood pressure. Among the most recent standouts is the controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson's decision to play a transgender character, which LGBTQ advocates would view as a good thing, right? You know, her being an ally to their cause and all. Here's one of the myriad tweets that sums up the feeling:

For weeks, the social justice types had been raging about Johansson, who was slated to portray a crime kingpin who was born a woman but identified as male in the film Rub & Tug.

In an interview with NPR — naturally — a trans activist had this to say about it:

Casting male actors to play trans women and female actors to play trans men really reinforces the idea that trans men are really women who are pretending to be men and tricking people into thinking they're men as opposed to the truth, which is that transgender men are living authentically as themselves. And we look like men and we feel like men, and we are perceived as men, and there's no reason, like, women should be playing us.

Listen to the full interview here:

Boy, if it weren't already confusing enough…

In response to this so-called backlash, Scarlett Johansson released a statement to her critics, noting to "tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment."

But, finally — as most people do these days — she buckled. She released the following statement:

In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project. Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I've learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive.

What's the source of all this outrage? Because, we all know that the small but vocal mob — who the mainstream media has for some reason given a platform, and whose voice is louder than the rest of ours — is able to bully until they get what they want.

There's no winning.

Let's say that Scarlett Johansson had refused the role to begin with, on the grounds that she will not play a transgender character. You can guarantee the same crowd that's outraged now would be in fits. There's no winning. The best we can do is treat those around us with respect, live humbly and, for heaven's sake, don't clap between every damn word.

We should all be praying for success at the Trump/Putin sit-down

ALEKSEY NIKOLSKYI/AFP/Getty Images

92 percent of the world's nuclear weapons are in TWO countries: the U.S. and Russia. And as I'm speaking right now, the leaders of both countries are sitting down at a table to try and figure out how to coexist with one another. Sounds kind of important right? And even though the media will slap-fight each other to death today in an attempt to turn the Trump/Putin summit partisan, what's happening right now in Helsinki is probably the least most partisan thing happening right now… like anywhere. As in, the entire planet.

If there was ever a time to be partisan… this isn't it. To any Democrat, Republican or mainstream media pundit looking to turn this into some gotcha political narrative… what the hell is wrong with you? The last time the U.S. and Russian presidents sat down for a summit was in 2010… eight years ago! Here's a small rundown of how "cold" our relationship has been since then.

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Russia still has troops in Georgia after their invasion during Obama's first term. Keep in mind, Georgia was a country considering joining NATO. That invasion was Russia's coming out party. It was a warning to the world that things were about to change, and they were just getting started. They would then invade, steal and annex Crimea from Ukraine. They'd also invade, destabilize and wage war in Eastern Ukraine. That war is still going on to this day, but rarely does the media talk about it anymore. And the backdrop to that invasion and silent war was an accusation from the Russians that the United States deliberately encouraged the fall of the Ukrainian president and government.

Meanwhile, Russia continues supplying troops and equipment to their side, and we are now providing military training and anti-tank missiles to ours.

And Ukraine is just one of the proxy wars currently being fought between the two nuclear powers. Syria is the other. In April, we admitted to killing nearly 200 Russians in that conflict.

Over the past four years, over 700 Russian citizens and companies have been sanctioned, 35 diplomats have been declared persona non grata, 2 Russian diplomatic compounds have been closed, one consulate and two diplomatic annexes. Oh… and Russia has ejected over 700 U.S. diplomatic staff.

Between cyber attacks and indictments on Russian intelligence personnel, tensions have never been higher.

Between cyber attacks and indictments on Russian intelligence personnel, tensions have never been higher. Russia currently maintains an arsenal of 6,600 nuclear weapons. We have 6,450. The next closest nuke holders are France with 300 and China with 280. It's not even close. Between Washington and Moscow, there are over 13,000 nuclear weapons pointed at one another.

Forget partisan politics. The two toughest kids on the block just met for a sit-down, and we should all be praying for their success.

It's not just the Twitter mobs, the Leftist extremists and the flagrant fourth-wave feminists who want ICE abolished. As we've seen, there's a growing number of politicians who want to see it as well.

Cue Alejandro Alvarez, who in his 32 years has managed to cultivate his brand as a "serial immigration violator." Alejandro has been deported 11 times. Well, he's facing deportation once again, after allegedly "slashing his wife with a chainsaw." His wife is in recovery and is expected to survive.

RELATED: The cost of unchecked illegal immigration is very real, and very high

Around 3:00 pm last Wednesday, police arrived at Alejandro's. When they arrived, they found Alvarez's wife suffering from "traumatic physical injuries, believed to have been inflicted by a chainsaw." The couple's three children were huddled in fear inside the home. Alejandro's wife was rushed to a nearby trauma center for an emergency surgery.

Alejandro fled the scene of the crime, but was eventually hauled in by police and booked under "suspicion of attempted murder, child endangerment, hit and run, and grand theft auto."

Sounds like the kind of guy who should be in our country illegally, right?

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley noted that "Immigration officers have lodged a detainer against Alvarez, requesting that local authorities notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement before his release to allow them to take the man into custody."

This is the new reality.

This is the new reality. The immigration agency has to ask for permission, to file requests, to have illegal immigrants who are guilty of crimes dealt with. Luckily for Alejandro, Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, so maybe he'll get another pass and be back on the streets in no time.

UPDATE: Here's how the discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Why is nobody talking about this?

Alabama law enforcement officials say that an illegal immigrant and an immigrant in the United States on a green card are responsible for the brutal murders of a grandmother and her 13-year-old special needs granddaughter in what investigators say is violence related to Mexican drug cartels.