As 2016 draws to a close, and not a day too soon mind you, I am setting my sights on some new horizons. In lieu of the outcome of the election, it should not surprise anyone to know that this will include a commitment to continue to incite rigorous dialogue on matters of consequence. One of which is surveying the new socio-political landscapes effects nationally and locally.

But it may be a little more difficult now as the new leader seems to have somewhat unleashed, or rather given the green light to, some pretty rapacious troglodytes. I actually read a Facebook post from a local man calling President Obama “Obamanigger” and boasting immense pride in his homophobia. I should note here that I did actually have a conversation with him on the phone and surprisingly was able to find some common ground, but it took more patience than I can sometimes muster, because in truth, the vitriol incited anger. But operating from anger rarely produces a good outcome.

This morning, a friend posted this:

It was shared from the page of another person whom I do not know, and it is indicative of something that suggests that Trump’s ascendancy has somehow empowered a brazenness in an already existing host of rapacious troglodytes. (Incidentally, why are bigots almost always functionally illiterate?)

It should go without saying here that I am not at all espousing that all supporters of the new leader are of this mindset. I’ve met some pretty narrow-minded people from all walks of the political spectrum for sure. But there is no question the movement has gotten some fresh, poisonous wind in its sails.

But something that I have begun to realize is that it is not just races or minority groups that are being targeted. It appears that liberal progressives as a whole are in the cross-hairs so to speak. The right quite literally think that they are so right that they even go as far as to gerrymander districts in their respective states to sway election outcomes. They prevent by way of illegal blocking the appointment of justices. Outgoing Republican leaders seek to hurry and pass laws that will inhibit their successors from doing their jobs as they see fit.

In America, liberal progressives are now the proverbial scapegoats in a land where nationalism and tribalism have taken full root. I fully expect to see this new administration begin to demonize anyone who is not of a radical conservative mindset as dangerous to the country.

The truly amazing thing about this republic is that its diversity and differences exist within the same borders. The idea is that opposing views of how to legislate and govern were in essence a formidable set of checks and balances that kept things from going the way of fascism.

Fascism is defined as “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.” It could be expanded to include a system of government where actual elite and wealthy people run the country in favor of their own economic interests while masking it as service to the people.

But I digress to ask you if you think that such fascist tendencies are present in our local establishment.

I would assert that you need look no farther than the St. George Airport to see examples of self-dealing by leaders. Or perhaps the code enforcement court, which has now in response to a federal due-process-violations lawsuit brought against it moved its court to the justice court, making what were once civil violations criminal ones — the same court, mind you, where a judge was caught blatantly violating the law when he conspired with a member of the Utah Attorney General’s office to redact evidence in a criminal proceeding.

It is confounding beyond measure that in a community rife with staunch constitutional advocates such things can happen without consequence.

But they do.

And if you peel back the layers enough, like I have been known to do, you will find an ugly undercurrent whereby the mindset is that somehow any and all nefarious behavior by leaders can be whitewashed by the notion that the perpetrators are on God’s errand, that somehow conservatism has been conflated with sects of western Judeo-Christianism and the two being one in the same, can do no wrong.

I am going to predict that in light of the recent elections, here locally we are going to see an increase in such brazenness and that messengers like myself, will be summarily dismissed, if not metaphorically shot.

See you out there.

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Dallas Hyland is a professional technical writer, freelance writer and journalist, award-winning photographer, and documentary filmmaker. As a senior writer and editor-at-large at The Independent, Hyland’s investigative journalism, opinion columns, and photo essays have ranged in topics from local political and environmental issues to drug trafficking in Utah. He has also worked the international front, covering issues such as human trafficking in Colombia. His photography and film work has received recognition as well as a few modest awards and in 2015, he was a finalist for the Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Based in southern Utah, he works tirelessly at his passion for getting after the truth and occasionally telling a good story. On his rare off-days, he can be found with his family and friends exploring the pristine outdoors of Utah and beyond.