Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox comes to convocations and shares a message about the importance of cooperation and bipartisanship.
Cox started the lecture by asking students whether they liked politics. Students who answered no listed such reasons as contention in the political structure, corruption, or a lack of getting things done in politics. Other students answered that they enjoyed learning about politics because it allowed them to learn about other people and because they believed that politics could be used to enact positive change in governmental policies.
The Lieutenant Governor talked about his journey to becoming the Lieutenant Governor. After living in Fairview for several years, one of the city council members asked him to apply for a position on the city council. From there, Cox went on to become mayor, county commissioner, and later a member of the Utah house of representatives.
While telling the story of becoming Lieutenant Governor, Cox emphasized that his decision to take the position was based off a desire to serve. He also said, “I almost said no, but decided I wanted to make a difference and to serve.”
Cox also related an experience he had while speaking to members of the LGBT community after a shooting on June 12, 2016 in Orlando. In the speech, Cox talked about how he empathized with the loss the LGBT community was feeling and spoke on a need for people to come together. “We need fewer Democrats and fewer Republicans and more Americans,” said Cox.
In 2016, the speech Cox gave ended up being featured on numerous major news channels including CNN, MSNBC, KSL, and the New York Times. Cox discussed how each of the entities that published the speech had their own slant on it and often misrepresented some of the things he said to fit their own viewpoint.
Additionally, the Lieutenant Governor also related an experience he had while being interviewed by a reporter from the Bloomberg media company. The reporter came to Utah to try and understand why Utah had the highest upward mobility rate, or rate of people in poverty entering the middle class, in the country.
Because of the interview, FOX news decided to feature Cox in one of their articles. In his lecture, he discussed how the news agency also put their own slant on many of his comments. He said that the only thing he could see while being interviewed was a box with a smiley emoji on it. He could not see any of the commentary they were posting about what he was saying and therefore could not respond to it.
“The media thrives on us hating each other,” said Cox. His final comments included an appeal for students to have an open mind as they head out into the world. Cox stated, “We can only start making a difference if we start working together.”
To conclude his speech, the Lieutenant Governor also talked about the importance of listening. He quoted a judge by the name of Learned Hand who said, “The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women.”