Politics

This is quilt I started last election and thought I better finish it incase Romney won. I'm glad I have four more years to finish it. Sometimes it takes me a long time to finish a project.


Yes, I'm writing about politics.  I have to. It's on my mind and I organize thoughts by writing.  I feel like if I can get a few thoughts down I can send it off into the world wide web and I can move on.

This election has been better than others and harder than others for me.  First, not having cable TV has been a huge improvement.  I think I've mentioned this before, but TV news is the worst.  It's sensational. It's about making money. It's about keeping people emotional so they'll watch often. It's repetitive. It's negative.  Last election I declared that I was giving up politics. I didn't actually give up thinking about and learning about politics. I just stopped watching TV news and having political conversations with people who are overly emotional about politics. It's been a great four years.  I've had friends express concern about me cutting myself off from the world. I have no regrets. It's so worth it. I would never go back. I listen to NPR when I'm getting dressed or sometimes working in the kitchen.  A 15 minute update gets me the overview of the days news and Willie and I usually talk further about anything interesting that night. I sometimes check in on CNN.com and scan for interesting headlines and if something really catches my attention, I read more about it on other news sites or blogs.

This election I've also looked to Nate Silver, my favorite non-emotional statistician, for predictions made from the polls. I love this guy. His nerdiness has paid off in a major way. He precisely predicted the outcome of last election and this one with his poll number crunching.




As far as politics is concerned, where I live and being a Mormon makes me a bit of an outsider.  Grand Junction is exceptionally conservative but in general I would say a lot of Mormons are too.  I solidified my political ideas at BYU. Yes, I became a liberal at the Lord's university. I was surrounded by friends and professors that were wonderful people that saw things like me. I even married one of those darn liberals. It just wasn't an issue.  Since then I've found myself being thought of as siding with the bad guys. It's such a strange feeling since my goal in life is to try and do good.

Here are a few examples.  My own father sat me down once to express his concern that I had strayed from the "right" way of being conservative and he was worried about my dedication to our church.  I received an email from an old mission friend (that I love) when she saw a clue on facebook that I was an Obama supporter. It was full of political rage and anger (directed at Obama, not me). I have been cornered by church members at book clubs (yes more than one), on runs, on hikes, at parties, and even in the church building to "talk" politics.  What they want to know is why and how I'm on the wrong side.  If I try to explain my views, all I get are talking points shot back at me. Most of these conversations are well intentioned, I'm sure, but there is always fear and anger riding just below the surface which makes it near impossible to have a level headed conversation. It's not how I want to be spending my recreational time.

I feel like I can understand and see where a conservative is coming from, if we are talking about actual issues, not made up fear tactics (like death panels or Obama being a muslim).  I even can acknowledge strong points in republican candidates. I can even relate with some of their issues and support them. I also totally understand being disappointed if you candidate doesn't win. The problem I find is that some people live in an alternate reality that is only based on binaries (black/white, us/them, republican/democrat, righteous/wicked, good/bad, save the constitution/it's the end of the world) and there is no way they can relate to what I'm saying.  There is no white on their black side of politics for me to fit in to.  Side note: binaries like good/evil are tools to understand the world and can be helpful when making decisions or evaluating the fruits of something, but they can be taken too far.

So this race made it even worse because Romney was a Mormon.  Now, Romney is a brother in the gospel to me.  I've had frustrations with him and been disappointed in him, but all is forgiven.  I know he must be heart broken after having worked so hard. I hope he can put his feet up and go on a mission or be a mission president and have some wonderful experiences. Still, I don't subscribe to the idea that he was saving the world from the utter destruction of evil Obama.  Romney and Obama are both amazing, non-evil, accomplished men.  But the binaries got even stronger with members of the church this election.  This wasn't just a normal election, this was the Lord's election.  Like Heavenly Father is all into trickle down economics and extending the Bush tax cuts. So here I fall on the side of the devil.   On election night I couldn't look at facebook and I'm not sure when it will be safe to go back.  Seeing comments from friends was making it hard not to have bad feelings.   I saw so much anger towards Obama and his supporters, cries that the end is near, true fear and worry for our country and blame for anything that's ever gone wrong being placed on Obama.

I don't think hate and anger is the Lord's way, ever.  Politics is not excluded from this.  We are all Gods children (even poor people that take advantage of the government, even illegal immigrants, even gay people, even Rush Limbah).  Negativity only damages.   We have greater things in common.  To quote my wise friend Abby, "I really don't think God is worried about our flawed, man-made political systems. I think He probably wants us to stop bickering and take care of each other already."


19 Comments:

  1. starr said...
    well put sally. well put.
    Kathy said...
    Once when I was working my weekly temple shift in the Winter Quarters Temple, I was on break and chatting with another temple worker. Even though we're not supposed to discuss politics in the temple the discussion was somewhat political. I mentioned I was a Democrat (even though I voted for Romney this time) and they said (kidding) "And they let you in here?"
    Margy said...
    Thanks, Sally. Beautifully put.
    Joe Neuhof said...
    Well said and heartfelt, feeling thankful to have you guys in our community.
    Kaerlig said...
    Thanks Sally. I share your sentiments. It has been challenging to live in Utah County and find myself so marginalized these days. It has been strange to feel like I don't agree with the main body of my faith when it comes to politics. I think that what is most important is how we treat each while we disagree. We are on the Lord's side if we are civil, respectful and kind - not if we voted for Romney.
    Travis said...
    Beautifully written, Sally. Nice job.
    pepper said...
    love this, very nicely put Sally
    Julie and Matt said...
    Well said, Sally. I feel the same way.
    LizKrider said...
    I support you, Sally! Both sides need to remember to respect opinions that are dear-to-their hearts and strongly held.
    Ashley Thalman said...
    Yes. I feel you and I see you and I know exactly what you are trying to communicate here.
    Suzy www.savedbysuzy.blogspot.com said...
    Well said Sally! The anger and belittling that accompanies politics is so destructive and doesn't have any worthwhile purpose. I'm so glad that we don't have cable this election either. Now, if only I could get my husband unglued from conservative talk radio....then things would be perfect!
    tommyboy said...
    d'accord sally deford!
    Elsha said...
    This is great Sally. Although I'm not a democrat, I hate the idea that you can't be a good mormon if you're not republican. And I don't know if I was more involved in social media this time around or what, but I saw SO MUCH of the "everyone who doesn't agree with me politically is an idiot" mentality. Not a fan.

    So, excellent post. If only everyone were this reasonable!
    scout said...
    love this Sally. I've had a rough go lately too. It's so comforting to hear other mormons on the same page. I'm glad I checked facebook today to see this post.
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