Dignity Index releases ratings for Fourth Congressional District debate, third-party ads

The Dignity Index has released ratings today related to the Fourth Congressional District debate, Congressman Owens’ comments related to the debate and ratings of third-party messages – those not paid for or issued directly from candidates and their campaigns.

Dignity Index ratings preface

One of the most frequently asked questions about the Dignity Index is, “How can you hold people politically accountable without contempt?”  It’s a good question.  People tend to believe that challenging politicians or public figures requires contempt. But treating people with contempt usually backfires. It inflames them, makes them defiant, and can turn them into an enemy.  And when you speak of someone with contempt, you’re encouraging all your sympathetic listeners to have contempt for that person too, and encouraging all your non-sympathetic listeners to have contempt for you.

That’s why treating people with dignity is so important, especially in the delicate exercise of holding them accountable.

The first step is obvious:  don’t use labels, and don’t call people names. When you turn a person into a label, you’re saying that defines them, that this is all there is to this person, all you need to know about him.  You deny or dismiss all their positive qualities and intentions.  He is “nothing but a clown.”   “He’s nothing but a liar.”  And when you call someone a name or describe them with a negative label, you’re saying “I’m better than you,” and nothing is more divisive than that.

So, the first step is ‘no names or labels.’ The next step is to focus the challenge narrowly on decisions, actions and outcomes.  “These are the things you said.”  “These are the things you did.”  “This is the effect they had.”  “These are the people who got hurt.”  The more specific and concrete the language, the easier it is to deliver the message with dignity – and the easier it is for people to hear it and respond in a constructive way.

Then, make a proposal.  The best way to challenge someone and treat them with dignity is to make it about solving a problem, not winning an argument.

Holding people accountable and treating them with dignity takes effort because it requires homework.  It’s not possible to get by with vague attacks, saying “this policy is a disaster!”   “Those people never get anything right!”  Contempt fades when people are forced to speak in specifics – because it can change the focus from “this is who you are” to “to this what you do” to “this is what you did” to “this is what we can do together.”

Today’s passages display some inspiring examples of coming to know and support the interests of people on “the other side.”  There are also examples of name-calling, which is always a mark of contempt.

Most people underestimate the cost of contempt, and that cost can be huge.  Contempt can take away people’s ability to talk to each other, which can take away the ability to solve problems together, which can take away a democracy.  Luckily, what contempt takes away, dignity can restore.  That’s why treating each other with dignity is a patriotic act — especially when people disagree.


Fourth Congressional Debate October 12 2022

Darlene McDonald

The good thing about having everyone at the table–and that is having all political parties at the table, having a diverse voices at the table–is that you create better policies. And one of the good things that I will say about the Republican Party is being able to provide a check on the Democrats. Let’s say if there is a bill that spends a little bit too much, that someone in the Republican Party could say maybe that’s a little too high.


It is okay to have difference of opinions about politics. It is not okay to use that as a personal attack against your neighbor. Love thy neighbor; I take that very literal. I take that to mean that we should at least know who our neighbors are and get to know our neighbors and have conversations with them, to be able to even break bread with them. It is good when you can share a good meal with people, even with people that you don’t agree with. You can at least come to some common ground, some common consensus. But we don’t have that today in our current politics because it’s always about getting one up over the other. So we have to do better.


This is going to require representation that’s going to work across both–everybody, the partisan line to come to the table to solve this problem. A one-party state cannot solve this problem. A one-party congress cannot solve this problem. We all must work together to solve this.


The reason to not solve this problem is exactly what’s happening right now in this election cycle at the southern border, where they use the immigration crisis as a political wedge issue. We are talking about human beings not a football. These are human beings and cannot be used as your political football. Let’s solve this immigration problem by coming to the table, sitting down and actually working this out–because we can.


for him to pull out of this debate tonight citing racism over a statement that he himself made is cowardly. If you think that someone is bullying you and you think that they are racist, then you stand up to them. You come here and you stand up to them. That is what I would have done. That is what I have been doing. I have been standing up. When people call me and they say that their children have been bullied on the school bus, I show up. That is what he should have done: show up and say, “I did not appreciate that statement.” And then we could have said, “All we did was just copy your statement.”


January Walker

Thank you so much for asking that question. When it comes to police brutality and what we can do to protect citizens, it’s actually adjusting our approach. When we look at our police population, we expect them to go through incredibly difficult jobs and face danger every single day. And that has created a population–and this is through information that they have given me directly–this has created a population that has high levels of stress, high levels of fear, and they don’t know if the next interaction will be their last. And so this means that we have to start prioritizing the mental health of our police officers.


One of the questions that we would go out into the public and ask people is: “What is your shade of purple?” And the requirement was is that you would share with us what your political party affiliation was and then you would tell us one thing that you liked about the opposing party. So I really appreciate this.   Since I am in the middle, I am going to say one thing quickly about each. When it comes to the Democrats, I actually truly appreciate that they take the social front and put in the effort to make sure that everybody is felt like they’re heard and included. And when it comes to the Republican front, I really appreciate that they champion fiscal responsibility.


When we look at the elections and the people’s concerns that they expressed, instead of going through and trying to find solutions in which we could bridge the divide, instead we told them to sit down and to be quiet and accept that the election results were real without offering real viable solutions for the future.  And as part of my campaigning, when I first started it, is I went through and I talked to the people that were election deniers. And I asked them what would it take for you to have full confidence in the United States elections once again.


There is a divide. But the question begs what is causing that current divide. And as a candidate, one of the things that became very apparent over time is that the people that are currently elected in office have absolutely no incentive to fix the problems that are in our nation today. They actually profiteer off of it. And when we look at the major political parties, they feed off of each other like parasites. And when it comes to taking a look who we have on the ballot, it doesn’t matter in this day and age if you choose to vote for a Democratic or a Republican anymore because the result and the solutions that come from them will be the exact same that we’ve seen for decades now.


Representative Owens has displayed cowardice. I think that most people here would agree with that. And the reason that his choosing not to show up to this debate has absolutely nothing to do with the cartoon and everything to do with not being able to speak clearly and concisely. He has been in controlled environments for two years now without the ability to speak freely. If you take him out of those scenarios, he does not have the ability to speak coherently. He has openly admitted to having CTE, or suspecting to have CTE, which that’s his prerogative to share. But ultimately, what it comes down to is what exactly is the difference from the Republican standpoint of saying, “Hey, Biden is 79 years old. He’s no longer there in full mental capacity.” So what is the point of making that claim when you yourself are a 71-year-old man? There is little to no difference between those two.


Burgess Owens

Video release October 12, 2022

I will not in good conscience have anything to do with the racist Salt Lake Tribune, and will therefore not participate in this debate. I expect bias from such a liberal outlet, but racism is where I draw the line. I will also not be bullied into participating in a forum of unabashed bigots.


Darlene, while we may disagree politically, I have nothing but respect for you. The constituents of District Four deserve not only to hear our voices, but also to have them discussed in our district. I’ve held numerous town hall meetings across our district and would love for you to join me and share political views in person and directly with the voters of our district.  We have allotted time on both October 22 and October 29 to make this happen. Our teams can work out the details, but I hope we could share a stage together over the closing weeks of this campaign.



Club For Growth

Crypto Freedom Pac Mailer

“Racist,” “Un-American,” “Bigot,” That’s what Evan McMullin said about you…your neighbors…your family. Evan McMullin is just another twitter-trolling hyper-partisan political bully trying to divide us.


Club for Growth “Parasites” 10/7/22: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ3TwsmpwP8

Narrator, “Evan McMullin believes the Republican Party is rife with racism. That’s the problem he said simply, the problem with people in its ranks. When Democrats say the GOP is racist, McMullin claimed, they’re actually right. Raging against the party on Twitter, he said, racist parasites have sucked the patriotism from its body. And McMullin wrote, the Republican Party is un-American. Evan McMullin is unhinged and unfit to represent Utahns.”


Club for Growth “Charlatan” 9/28/22: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O42qbBUqaY

Actor 1: What Evan McMullin says, that doesn’t feel kind, he’s derogatory to a huge group of people.

Actor 2: To me Evan McMullin is a charlatan, he’s trying to play that middle and be independent.

Actor 3: He’s pro-Utah and pro-this and, you know, pro-this but then you see this other part and you’re like, ‘oh wait.’

Actor 2: And he’s like, you’re not smart enough to remember what I said, he’s just an opportunist.


Club for Growth “Small Business” 9/19/22: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZO_4LJIpq4

Actor: I know what it would do to my business if I didn’t get paid. I think if people knew that Evan McMullin had stiffed people that tried to help him. $600,000, just think about what these people are going through and I don’t think he thinks about ‘em at all. He got what he needed and he’s moved on. It’s not right. What’s sad about it is that people in Utah are good people. I think Utah means a payday for Evan McMullin. That’s the trademark of a conman. Once you’ve been burned, it’s hard to go back.


Club for Growth “Scam” 9/7/22: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvzEItJKC3I

Narrator: After a foolish vanity campaign for president Evan McMullin’s under a mountain of debt. On the hook for 600 grand, owed to the workers and contractors he stiffed six years ago. So Evan McMullin moved here from DC, opened a bank account, and started shaking down hard-working Utahns for campaign donations. The desperate schemes of dead-beat politicians. Evan McMullin, so craven he’s not who he says.


Club for Growth: https://twitter.com/utjolley/status/1561716678647578626?s=46&t=diBijeYQqsqnkMZRbG7zMg

Narrator: What does Evan McMullin believe? It depends on who’s paying him. McMullin took half a million dollars in tax-payer funded salary working for Republicans in Washington. But the grass is greener on the left, so the next year, McMullin started a liberal non-profit that paid his own company 600 grand to push a left wing agenda. McMullin’s agenda is profit not principal, and certainly not Utah.


Put Utah First

Put Utah First Website https://pututahfirst.org/



Senator Orrin Hatch passed 192 bills into law in his career as a US Senator. Since he was elected 2011, Senator Mike Lee has passed …. 10.

3 of them re-named public buildings.


Put Utah First Website https://pututahfirst.org/

When leaders care more about playing politics in Washington, whether they are Republican or Democrat, than they care about representing Utahns, we suffer the consequences. We need leaders who will stop sucking up to party leaders, stop playing DC games, and docs on one simple thing: putting Utah first.


Put Utah First 8/11/22 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urz_aUJoaTM

Narrator: “Evan McMullin. The independent courage to put Utah first.

McMullin: “Unlike Mike Lee, I won’t be a puppet for Trump, or Biden, or either party.”

Narrator: “Evan McMullin, Senate. Put Utah First Pac is responsible for the content of this advertising.”


Put Utah First 8/11/22 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QxXKy0wkw0

Narrator: “Let’s stop the Washington games.” Evan McMullin: “both parties cater to the extremes, and are corrupted by big money.” Narrator: “McMullin’s plan: unite America. Put our fiscal house in order. Tackle inflation now.”


Put Utah First 8/11/22  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_b_Xs_WYXg

Narrator: “Evan McMullin has always put everything on the line in order to protect America. A CIA officer fighting terrorists. Republican national security advisor. Strong Utah values. Evan McMullin, independent courage.”


Put Utah First 10/9/22 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B5kt32F8HQ

Narrator: “After twelve years in Washington, who’s side is Mike Lee on? When veterans exposed to toxic chemicals like agent orange needing funding for VA benefits, Mike Lee said no. When 9/11 first responders needed healthcare funding, Mike Lee was one of only two senators who said no. And Mike Lee was the only senator in America who said no to new legislation to fight opioids and fentanyl. Mike Lee. It’s time to say no to him.”


About The Dignity Index project

The Dignity Index is an eight-point scale that measures what we do when we disagree.  The scale ranges from one — which sees no dignity at all in the other side — to eight, which sees the dignity in everyone.  Each point on the scale reflects a particular mindset, and each mindset is associated with certain beliefs and behaviors that reflect how open we are to the other side. As a broad rule, if I treat you with dignity, it means that I can see myself in you; if I treat you with contempt, it means I see myself above you.

Dignity in public debate involves making proposals, declaring values, stating goals and discussing decisions, actions, and outcomes.  It includes listening carefully, and asking for more information.  It means debating why something worked or didn’t work, whether it will work or why it won’t.

Contempt in public debate relies on mocking others, calling them names, attacking their motives and character, ridiculing their background or beliefs, and lumping them together in large groups under negative labels, declaring them dangerous, and blaming them for bad outcomes.

When we treat the other side with dignity, we make it easier to solve problems.  When we treat others with contempt, we make it impossible to solve problems – because contempt takes away our ability to talk to each other.

Powered by UNITE, a national movement to encourage Americans to reject “us vs. them” thinking and stand together in common purpose, The Dignity Index was developed in partnership with behavioral scientists and other experts, and the demonstration project is being guided by researchers  at the University of Utah. Learn more at dignityindex.us.