Right up front, it needs to be said that fears and phobias are not the same thing.


For instance, a healthy fear of a rattlesnake is a good thing, and may save your life one day. But a phobia that rattlers are going to get you every time you go for a hike ... now that's an unreasonable phobia.

Dr. Meaghan Rice wrote: "Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder that provokes excessive and persistent fear ... The difference lies in whether “the fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the specific object or situation and to the sociocultural context.”

She continues: "Typically, phobias include intense fears that persist for more than six months, and in extreme cases, can even cause physical symptoms like sweating and chest pains."

This story is not about phobias, but real fears that we may experience here in Southern Utah.

The list of Fears

Man digging in desert

1. Running out of water -- A recent article in the Washington Post outlines the seriousness of what we all feel -- that we can't keep growing at this breakneck speed and have enough water to fill all our needs. Article author Karen Brulliard wrote: "Water disputes have run through the American West since European settlement, but never have the stakes been so high. The Colorado River, which hydrates 40 million people, is so compromised that federal officials are asking the states that depend on it, including Utah, to further slash an amount equal to up to one-third of its annual flow.


2. Washington County will be "California-ed" -- There's a popular t-shirt/bumper sticker that says "Don't California My Utah." Most residents in Southern Utah don't want liberal politics, soaring house prices (believe it or not, they could get much worse -- i.e. -San Francisco) and a huge homeless population. Fortunately, the harsh summers here may just keep the mild-weather fans out of STG. In fact, some have suggested that anyone wanting to live in St. George should have to stay here in July and August before they make a final decision.

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA downtown city skyline at dusk.
Sean Pavone

3. Northern Utah will forget Washington County exists -- I remember living Up North in my younger years and watching the news while wondering why they always had stories and weather forecasts for St. George. Didn't St. George have its own TV stations? Actually, no. And now that STG is booming, Southern Utah deserves more attention than ever.

Police crime scene
Brian Jackson

4. Crime will become a huge factor -- This is a tough one, because some people say major crime is already here. Last century, a murder might happen every decade or so, if that. A high-speed chase? A hostage situation? A major drug bust? Unheard of before, but they've all happened in Utah's Dixie in the last few months. Multiple times. The truth is, we already have gangs, poverty, drugs and homelessness here. Lately thefts, burglaries and even armed robberies are on the rise. Like it or not, with growth comes growing pains. Our only chance is to have a police force that is sharp, cutting edge and hyper-aware. So far, we do.

A sign welcoming people to Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.
A sign welcoming people to Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.

5. Losing our identity -- Thanks to wokeness, ESG ratings and general liberal absurdity, there is a palpable movement to erase what Dixie was. Apparently, remembering the past makes many of us inherently bigoted. Gratitude for early Mormon settlers? Sexist. Appreciation for values and decency? Narrow-minded. Love of God and Country? Racist. Belief in capitalism and the American Way? Old-fashioned. The liberal left wants us all to believe that our past is evil, that our ancestors were horrible and that everything we have was built on misogyny, racism and bullying. That's why statues are disappearing, names are being erased (I already miss you Dixie College) and history books are being rewritten.

These are all valid fears. But if we face them and even fight them, we can change them.

On my wall is a quote: ""The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

It doesn't say don't be afraid. It says to conquer the fear.

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