My vision of the one and only true liberal utopia is this:
People of all races and backgrounds live in harmony and can be said to truly love one another.
There are no hungry or downtrodden, because people are nice to one another, share with one another, and are content with what they have while still striving to improve themselves and their lives.
Neighbors watch out for neighbors, and care about them. They maintain their yards not only for themselves, but to beautify the neighborhood for everyone.
Crime is low because children are taught in their homes and by the village how to be a good and respected member of the community.
There is not only racial diversity, but cultural diversity as well. Mutual respect is abundant. People come from all over the world to live in this place of peace and happiness.
OK, wake up, people. It’s just a liberal dream.
Unless – wait for it – you live in Utah Valley. That’s the place I just described above.
Don’t get me wrong – Utah Valley isn’t perfect – but it’s definitely the closest to the above ideal of anywhere I’ve ever lived. I wasn’t born here, but have lived here almost 30 of my 57 years, so I admit a rose-colored-glasses kind of fondness for the place, but also extensive experience with it as well.
I’ve also lived in (in chronological order): Los Angeles – 2 years; Idaho – 1 yr; Southern Utah – 2 yrs; Granada Hills (CA) – 4 yrs; Las Vegas – 1 yr; Hawaii / Japan – 2 yrs; Boca Raton (FL) – 2 yrs; Gaithersburg (MD) – 8 yrs; Dallas & Austin – 4 yrs; and Riverton (UT) – 1 yr.
Everywhere I’ve lived had its charms, even Boca Raton – the place I least liked because so many of the people there were so self-centered, mean, and illiberal, even if they fancied themselves liberals. Las Vegas is, well, Las Vegas. Japan was wonderful, but no diversity. I liked Montgomery Village, too, but with a few exceptions, neighbors mostly kept to themselves. Same with Dallas and Austin – without the diversity of Montgomery Village or Utah Valley.
But Utah Valley is also called Happy Valley for a reason – most of the people here are practicing Mormons first and traditional values conservatives second, but also live and love and let live folks. My kind of people.
I know you’re thinking: diversity in Utah? Huh? Yes, BYU draws people from all over the world. And most of them like it here. And don’t get confused – neither Salt Lake City nor rural Utah or even North Central Utah are really the same as Utah Valley.
So I know I’m defying the stereotypes of both liberals and conservatives alike, but the reality is that labels just don’t work here. They don’t fit.
And if you don’t believe me, come on out and I’ll give you a tour. Anyone with a good heart is welcome in our home, and we love to show off our beautiful happy valley – the one and only true liberal Utopia.
At least that I’ve found so far.