Two candidates running against each other in Utah made a new ad together about rejecting hate
via Spencer Cox / Twitter

In the middle of a heated election, liberal and conservative Americans are at odds over a lot of issues, but there's one thing they can agree on, they're sick of all the political acrimony.

A 2018 PBS poll found that nearly three-quarters of Americans — 74 percent — think the overall tone and level of civility in the nation's capital have gotten worse since Trump was elected.

Seventy-nine percent are "are concerned or very concerned that the negative tone of national politics will prompt violence."


Many believe that a big reason why Joe Biden has such a commanding lead in the polls is the nation is suffering from "Trump fatigue."

"I have said this since he was elected," a former GOP member of Congress told The Hill. "This exhaustion, this never-ending drama and chaos ... I think a lot of people are yearning for some kind of normalcy."

In a rare showing of civility just 14 days before the November 3 election, Republican Spencer Cox and Democrat Chris Peterson, rival candidates for Utah governor, created a joint campaign ads promising to respect the outcome of the presidential race.

The display was a rare instance of candidates coming together in the middle of an election.

"We can debate issues without degrading each other's character," Peterson says in one ad. "We can disagree without hating each other," says Cox. "And win or lose, in Utah we work together," says Peterson. "So let's show the country there's a better way," says Cox.

In another ad, the duo pledge to accept the results of the election and to "commit to a peaceful transition of power." Although they didn't mention the president by name, it's a clear repudiation of Trump's campaign to challenge the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

"We've come together with a message more important than our differences," Cox says in the ad. "That we will fully support the results of the presidential election," adds Peterson. "So Utah can be an example to the nation," added Cox.

Cox, Peterson call for Utah to support peaceful transition of power www.youtube.com

"The time-honored values of a peaceful transition of power and working with those with whom we differ are an integral part of what it means to be an American," said Peterson in a joint statement with Cox. "It's time to reforge a national commitment to decency and our democratic republic."

The ad is clearly an attempt by both politicians to win points by presenting a positive face at a time when partisan rancor is particularly heated. But there is reason to be a little skeptical of both politicians motives.

Cox has a huge lead over Peterson in the highly Republican state and loses very little by showing his opponent in a positive light.

The ad was applauded by Utah Republican senator Mitt Romney, who recently admitted that he didn't vote for President Trump. Romney has been a consistent anti-Trump voice in the senate after winning the seat in 2018.

While it's right to be skeptical of this overt attempt by two politicians to show themselves as beacons of civility in a world gone mad, the important part is that the message has clearly been supported by the American people.

The ads have received tens of thousands of likes on Twitter and have attracted national attention.

If the polls are correct, we appear to be limping towards the final days of the most divisive presidency in recent American history. Cox and Peterson's ad shows that Americans on both sides of the aisle have a real hunger for a greater sense of civility in our public discourse.

Let's hope the message is heard loud and clear by leaders throughout the country and wen begin to heal after a viscous four years of partisan bickering.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Virginia is poised to become the 23rd U.S. state—and first state in the South—to ban the death penalty after lawmakers on Monday approved legislation prohibiting the practice.

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Both chambers of the General Assembly passed earlier versions already this month. On Monday, the Senate passed the House bill in a 22-16 vote; the House then voted 57-43 on the measure to ban capital punishment. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has indicated his support for the measure.

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Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Don Bay has been in the citrus business for over 50 years now, and according to him, his most recent growing endeavor has been the most challenging. Alongside his son Darren and grandson Luke, Don cultivates Sumo Citrus®, one of the most difficult fruits to grow. The Bay family runs San Joaquin Growers Ranch in Porterville, California, one of the farms where the fruit is grown in the United States.

Sumo Citrus was originally developed in Japan, and is an extraordinary hybrid of mandarin, pomelo and navel oranges.

The fruit is temperamental, and it can take time to get a thriving crop. The trees require year-round care, and it takes five years from seed to fruit until they're ready for harvest. Thanks to expert citrus growers like the Bay family though, Sumo Citrus have flourished in California. Don and his son Darren worked together through trial and error to perfect their crop of Sumo Citrus. Darren is now an expert on cultivating this famously temperamental fruit, and his son Luke is learning from him every step of the way.

Don, Darren and Luke BayAll photos courtesy of Sumo Citrus

"Luke's been involved as early as he could come out," Darren said in a YouTube video.

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Just over a month after passing the grim milestone of 400,000 deaths from COVID-19, the United States has surpassed another one. As of today, more than half a million Americans have been lost to the virus that's held the world in a pandemic holding pattern for almost a year. It's a number that seemed unfathomable even six months ago, and yet here we are.

Despite increasing vaccine rollouts allowing us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the loss we've experienced is immense. Having a president who not only understands loss on a personal level—having endured the tragic loss of his wife and baby daughter earlier in life and the death of his son just six years ago—but who conveys with compassion the grief of the nation as we mark this milestone is a comforting change.

Tonight, the White House honored the 500,000+ lives lost with a display of 500 candles lining the steps of the building, with each candle representing 1000 Americans. The president and first lady, along with the vice president and second gentleman, held a memorial moment of silence outside the South Portico as a military band played "Amazing Grace."

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