Open Letter to Senator Orrin Hatch

Dear Senator Hatch,

Full disclosure: I was born and raised in Utah — and, to answer the first question that follows, I was born and raised and baptized as a Mormon — but I’ve left the state — and the LDS religion — and my ears prick up whenever I hear news from Utah (for example, see my post https://frankcornerblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/across-the-aisle/). I want you to know that I oftentimes find myself in the awkward position of defending my home state (which I’ve chosen to leave), its peoples (with whom I have some disagreements), and even the religion with which it is bound (and with which I have broken my binds), because, despite doing reprehensible things like pouring millions of dollars into anti-gay legislation, I know that the State of Utah and the LDS Church are both full of good people — not always excusable, and certainly not a monolithic homogeneous single-minded entity, but I am personally familiar with countless Utah Mormons in whom I have faith: that their goodness will outweigh some heinous social influences of powerful institutions and individuals.  I hope you are not one of those individuals, Senator Hatch, but your recent comments make me wonder.

Specifically, when you responded to the news about the United States Attorney General committing perjury by lying under oath to the United States Congress about his personal actions that could be related to the very serious acknowledged fact that a foreign government interfered in the supposedly democratic election of the United States President, the significance of which undermines the integrity of the very democracy about which we continue to be so proud, and the continued legitimacy of which is dependent on the United States Justice Department that is currently run by a known perjurer (not to yet get into the details about his troubling racist ideology), dear Senator Hatch, why did you respond by saying, “My concern is, why are our Democratic senators so doggone rude” to Mr. Sessions?

Is that what you want to know about why the Attorney General lied to you in his Senate confirmation hearings, both in spoken and written word? “In the beginning was the Word,” reads one translation of one of your holy books, “and the Word was with God,” and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s words are lies. And you wonder about the doggone words that other senators use who are trying to bring justice to the Justice Department?

Let’s put this in context. The G.O.P. (to which you proudly claim membership) as a monolithic homogeneous single-minded entity spent the last eight years with their primary and stated objective being to block everything that President Barack Obama wanted to accomplish.  President Obama, let’s remember, was without question fairly elected by the American people, twice, and he wanted to bring hope and change to American politics, and he pulled the country out of our worst recession since the Great Depression, and, in the end, he admitted to being a friend of gays (this must have rubbed you the wrong way — is it because he is actually more Christ-like and loving than you are?), and, as we all know, he is also black (and perhaps this rubbed you the wrong way, too, as your church didn’t see fit to grant blacks religious authority until 1978, although you were willing to take their tithing as soon as you could convert them). With that context, I’m personally a little bit more interested in why the Republicans have been so doggone rude.

Let’s provide some more context. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, you might remember, was rejected by Congress for a federal judgeship, but you might not remember this because when it was being reviewed during Sessions’ most recent Senate confirmation hearings, Senator Elizabeth Warren was not allowed to read a letter from Coretta Scott King (she’s the wife of perhaps our nation’s best known civil rights leader, in case you’d forgotten) explaining why Sessions’ explicitly racist actions made him unfit for the job. Interestingly, Senator Warren was not allowed to read the letter through the invocation of an almost-never-used Senate rule by your own Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (he looks a lot like you, I think …). At the time of Sessions’ first round of Senate confirmation hearings, Congress agreed with Coretta Scott King, and they did not appoint him. No matter. Congress’s recent change of heart, I’m sure, is just that they’re becoming more Christ-like, forgiving Sessions his past wrongs.

Except, it turns out, his wrongs aren’t limited to the past. Some of his first attempted actions as Attorney General were to drop U.S. legal cases against states that have clearly racist voter suppression laws, and also to stop investigations into the explicitly racist actions of local police forces. To me, these actions seem pretty rude, and I want you to know that I don’t give a goddamn what language my elected representatives use to stop such injustice.

Frankly yours,

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