Last April I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Arthur C. Brooks. Although many of my associates were familiar with him, this was the first opportunity I had to get acquainted with his ideas about the social ills that are paralyzing our society. Those ills are now targeting our local communities. I obtained one of Brooks’ most popular books, Love Your Enemies, and was quickly submerged in the material he presented. Being raised in a Christian home, the phrase “love one another” was certainly not new to me, but what captivated me was the focus and his effective manner of explaining the inverse emotion, a prevailing attitude that has been expanding rapidly, “contempt.”
I can easily identify contempt and unfortunately, I am familiar with it. Not frequently, but enough that I know when it exists. Enough that I can recognize the destructive power that is its companion. Admittedly, I have always struggled with the criteria of showing adequate love, but contempt is another matter. It is clearly identifiable.
Progress in rooting out contempt is made through individual association. I care for and I enjoy my friends. Many are different from me and some have a different value system or competing politics. Many have a different heritage or background than my own. They are my friends and as I have gotten to know them there is little opportunity for contempt.
I asked our City Council to support me this month in a proclamation promoting the values of friendship and inclusion in our community. I encourage you to have a discussion and listen to someone who has a different opinion than your own, they may move you a bit and that is fine. It can be difficult to learn anything new when associating with only those you agree with.
As we celebrate Lehi’s heritage, we look forward to many social gatherings, parades, pageants, public activities, and, of course, the Round-up Rodeo. This is a wonderful opportunity to build relationships within our community and to celebrate the freedoms we cherish.
Let us also recognize the corrosive emotion of contempt and understand what it will do to you and our community. Try to better understand each other’s perspectives and love our enemies.
Mayor Mark Johnson