“Very little to talk about”: Burgess Owens’ commitment to division is not what Utah needs

Image courtesy of Burgess4Utah.com.

Despite positioning himself as the I’ve-never-wanted-to-be-a-politician type before announcing his run to represent Utah’s 4th congressional district last fall, Burgess Owens, the Trump-adoring Republican and former professional football player, isn’t a political rookie.

Over the last four years, Owens has been a constant contributor to a number of conservative television programs, including Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and Fox & Friends. He’s also travelled with Young America’s Foundation, a conservative group that hires speakers to address high school and university students, since 2017. Owens has written books, too, promoting his right-wing beliefs, including a work entitled Liberalism or How to Turn Good Men into Whiners, Weenies and Wimps.

Whiners, weenies and wimps: this bouncing triplet features just some of the lowly insults Owens has used in the past to refer to and define Democrats and the Democratic Party. Others include:

By frequently issuing these demeaning labels, Owens has made it very clear how he feels about those who disagree with him politically.

During a debate earlier this year, Owens was asked which Democratic congressperson he believes he could best work with in Washington, if elected. He refused to give a name, saying instead,

“That’s what I’ll have to find out when I get there because, at the end of the day, we have to keep in mind, guys, that there are people who are literally trying to bring misery on our people…anyone who fights against head, heart, hands, and home — [we] have very little to talk about.”

The mantra “head, heart, hands, and home” is one of Owens’ favorite talking-points. The motto represents what he believes are the four pillars of the American way: education, God, industry, and family.

Certainly, there are Democrats who treasure these same principles: take Owens’ opponent, Representative Ben McAdams, for example.

McAdams is a committed Christian who has a wife and four children. He earned degrees from both the University of Utah and Columbia Law School, and practiced law in both New York and Utah before choosing to represent his community in the Utah state senate.

By Owens’ standards, McAdams should be worthy of his time, for both believe in the importance of “head, heart, hands, and home.”

However, Owens still finds McAdams an incompatible rival.

In a Fox Business interview, Owens said,

“At the end of the day, it’s not even about…Ben McAdams; it’s really about the party he represents. He gives power to a very divisive party that…is a party of hate.”

It seems pretty simple: if you’re a Democrat — even if you cherish and support the same values as Owens — you, in some way, inherently represent hate.

I wish Owens had answered that debate question with just one name — just one Democrat who he thinks he could work with, to promote harmony and cooperation. And if he doesn’t intend to work with any Democrats in Congress, I’d wish he’d just tell us now.

Either way, continuing to engage in schismatic speech won’t unify our country or state. Owens is running to represent a politically diverse district, and, if he continues to ostracize and demonize nearly half of his potential constituency, our beloved state will suffer even more division, something no Utahn wants. Unless he commits to being willing to work with those who disagree with him, Burgess Owens would do nothing but hurt Utah in Congress.

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