11.04.2008

Why I am glad today is Election Day

1. SNL can go back to sucking and that will be one less thing for me to watch each week.

2. I'm wearing a cool sticker that proclaims me a voter.

3. We can start getting more puppies & kitties stories in the news. (Note: GH is not excited about this, since he's the one who has to find and write the puppies & kitties stories.)

4. It will possibly be another 4 years before I have to listen to people at church talk about how you can't be a good Mormon and a Democrat. And how this is no time for wishy-washiness, because if you dig deep you'll see that Obama is actually a communist and that's why you can't vote for him.

5. It will possibly be another 4 years before I have to listen to people assume that because I am a Utah resident and a Mormon that I automatically share their political views and will be therefore happy to listen to them spout off, uninvited, when I can't get away and don't want a fight.

My point is this. I'm tired of things being so imbalanced. I want balance, people. I think we need balance. Balance is the whole point of a 2-party system, with there being enough back and forth that you eventually find solutions that will benefit the largest number of people. And I am so, so, SO over the "if you don't vote for the same person I'm voting for then that means you don't actually love Jesus" refrain. Because hi, this is just one more example of SOMETHING THAT IS NO ONE ELSE'S D*MN BUSINESS being used as some sort of spirituality judgment tool, when we don't actually need to be judging each other in the first place. I've already been through that with the "Why are you still single?" and I'm sure I'll get it with the "Why don't you have (enough) kids yet?" and I don't actually need one more. And anyway, my response will always be the same:

SUCK.
IT.

But back on the issue of balance. A few days ago GH pointed out a very interesting article to me. You can read the transcript here, but in 1998 Elder Marlin K. Jensen (then a member of the Church's Public Affairs Committee) was interviewed by the Salt Lake Tribune at the request of church official on "the topic of partisan imbalance in Utah and among LDS members."
Elder Jensen gave these as concerns the brethren have about the apparent demise of the 2-party system among United States Mormons.

-- The LDS Church's reputation as a one-party monolith is damaging in the long run because of the seesaw fortunes of the national political parties.

-- The overwhelming Republican bent of LDS members in Utah and the Intermountain West undermines the checks-and-balances principle of democratic government.

-- Any notion that it is impossible to be a Democrat and a good Mormon is wrongheaded and should be "obliterated."

-- Faithful LDS members have a moral obligation to actively participate in politics and civic affairs, a duty many have neglected.


So get this, how often do presidential candidates visit Utah? Pretty much never. Do they ever even mention Utah? No, because they don't have to. Utah is a done deal. Everyone knows UT will go Republican no matter what, and that it will continue to go Republican even if the candidates do a piss-poor job and don't live up to their promises. So they don't have to care about what we want or what our issues are or whether we're happy with their leadership. We don't actually matter.

And on the State level, there have been disadvantages to having Republican-only leadership, no matter how good that leadership may be. Elder Jensen gives a few examples of ways that "long-range planning issues" have suffered, like "open-space preservation and land-use planning," with a specific example being the crappy all-at-once construction on I-15. Jensen maintains that if there had been more balance in the state legislature, these issues would have been hashed out beforehand, "rather than being allowed to wait until we reached a crisis situation." Another example I think of is the educational system in the state. We hear teachers and parents moan about how under-funded the schools are and how poorly teachers are paid, but wouldn't it be Democrats who are more likely to push for funding increases?

Another quote from the article:

Jensen said concerns exist on two levels about the unofficial linkage of the Republican Party and Mormon Church.

One is the fear that by being closely identified with one political party, the church's national reputation and influence is subject to the roller-coaster turns and dips of that partisan organization. Also bothersome is that the uncontested dominance of the Republican Party in Utah deprives residents of the debate and competition of ideas that underlie good government.

"There is a feeling that even nationally as a church, it's not in our best interest to be known as a one-party church," Jensen said. "The national fortunes of the parties ebb and flow. Whereas the Republicans may clearly have the upper hand today, in another 10 years they may not."

I know many US Mormons don't consider the Democratic party because they don't feel it represents their values in areas like abortion or same-sex issues. Only here's the thing--no one party is going to fit everything that you believe. And it will definitely never represent your LDS values if there are no LDS people involved in it. I'm not saying this is about joining the enemy camp just because, but if you find that the Democratic Party or your local Democratic candidates match up with your views on education, taxation, energy, health care, the environment, and whatever else, then you may want to take a second look. For example, the Utah County Democrats are pro-life. Because you can be pro-life and a Democrat. You may also want to take a look at which issues are more likely to affect your life in the next 4-8 years. I doubt abortion is going to be tackled either way by either candidate. They have too many other things to deal with--I bet they're going to state their position and then leave it be. Because who wants to invite THAT crapstorm? I'm more concerned about things like what the NCLB-teach-to-the-test educational system is going to be like when my kids start school, and whether we're still going to be pouring troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, and if I'm going to be able to afford health care, or buy a house, or save for retirement. And I'll go with whichever party has a plan that aligns with my ideas of what should be done.

Please don't take this to mean that I think I have all the answers. I absolutely do not, and I've only started evaluating my own political views in the last couple of years. So clearly I have work to do. And this isn't really me trying to lecture so much as it is me working through some things I've been thinking about and discussing with friends in the last several months. And I'd like to hear what you're coming up with as well. I just think it's odd that a group of people (specifically Mormons) can disagree and have different viewpoints on so many things, but are somehow magically aligned (or are "supposed" to be) when it comes to politics. I also wonder why some of us are so threatened about the idea of political differences within the church. Are we the same ones who feel threatened if people don't make the same decisions we do about where to live, when to marry, and how to plan and raise our families? I think there are a lot of correct choices here, and they don't all have to be the same one.

Anyway, Happy Election Day!


62 comments:

Kelly said... [reply]

Well, I just have this to say. If the Church doesn't want to be associated with a particular political party, then it should keep its nose (and large amounts of money) out of politics.

BEFore said... [reply]

[sob] It's so true.

Two-party politics is a sad (and detrimental) fact of our current winner-take-all voting process. And that's bad enough.

But here in Utah, it's a stinkin' 1-party system for the most part. Just plain ugly.

The LDS church stays out of politics except on some very few issues it considers to be purely moral issues, or things that will directly affect the church itself. I'm guessing you're talking about CA Prop. 8. My thoughts on the matter are my own, but this article provided some interesting insight.

BEFore said... [reply]

Ugh. Looks like it's now "members only". Stupid newspaper people.

Google cache

Mart -n- Marci said... [reply]

OH.MY.GOSH.

I have followed your blog for a few months now (finding you famously hillarious) and your thoughts reflecting mine so closely, but until today, didn't have the COURAGE to comment, as I, sadly, am not as funny as you.

Note I said "until today"...(as if you haven't yet noticed the comment!)

BECAUSE.

If I could stand and applaud what you've said here, I would.

Thank you - thank you - thank you.

This has needed to be said for oh, so long now!!

And, I will be copying and pasting your post in my blog, in my emails to my FAMILY and FRIENDS, and everywhere else I can think of!

Thanks again!! I COMPLETELY AGREE.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

I. Love. This. I just was saying to Plantboy that I'd love to get all my friends together for a big BLUE MORMONS FOR OBAMA party tonight. But we are all in different states unfortunately. And eating snobby, liberal elitist cheeses and chocolates and artisan bread over the phone is just not the same.

*Sigh*

Now in a moment of shameless self-promotion, please read this post of mine from some months back. You echo my sentiments here so well and I'm making a copy of Elder Jensen's article to have tatooed on my back. Or is that going to far?

http://scienceteachermommy.blogspot.com/2008/09/finally-political-ideology-i-can-agree.html

Nemesis said... [reply]

Kelly, yeah . . . so not touching that one. But my friend Sakhmet made a really good point about this that I'm sure she'll be sharing with us any time now. ;-)

Before, yeah. And thanks for the link!

Mart-n-marci, I'm so glad you commented! And my goodness, I'm sure I don't deserve that kind of praise. (I'll totally take it, though, to remind myself on the days when I'm just a big non-witty dork.)

STM, I'd so go for some artisan breads and cheese right now. :-) .

MidCityGal said... [reply]

Amen, Nemesis. You have captured my thoughts exactly. And I have been waiting and waiting for a Mormon blogger to write a post that isn't mean or hateful or narrow-minded, with regards to politics, so that I could calmly comment instead of walk away from the computer with steam coming out my ears.

I hate that politics in the church culture is so polarizing. For most people, there isn't two sides to every argument and I find that frustrating. I do consider myself a conservative, especially on social issues; but at the same time I feel that funding education and a diplomatic foreign policy also goes hand in hand with-- church doctrine, if you will.

So, thanks for the breath of fresh air. I needed it today and you are much more eloquent than I am, so I'm thrilled that you wrote this.

Thankfully, our Sunday School teacher this last Sunday talked about 3 Nephi and the government in those chapters. And he encouraged us to think about the issues in this election by proclaiming that:

"It's not about what is 'RIGHT' and what is 'WRONG;' but about what is RIGHT and what is RIGHT and what is most important at this time.

Phew, I loved it. And after living in Utah for 24 years, it was a welcome relief.

Gretchen said... [reply]

I hope this doesn't come across as antagonistic. I happen to be a little more red-inclined than you. But not just because I've been brainwashed by a "one-party religion." I actually happen to find I agree with more Rep views than Dem views. Also, I do agree that we need a true bipartisan system - we have a similar problem here in Texas.

That being said, I have always been curious but never had to the guts to ask the following for fear of it getting ugly. I think I trust you to ACTUALLY keep this as a good natured discussion. I hope. You can do that, right? RIGHT? ;)

I totally agree that no one party is going to align with all your views. Very true for myself. But does a quality vs. quantity factor come into play for you? I mean, some Mormons seem to be Republican purely off of 2 or 3 issues like you said. But, like you said, it seems like their reasoning is often that those 2 or 3 issues are more important to them even if they aren't something that frequently comes into play. So does it ever bother you at all that at least at the national level you are sometimes exchanging rare but perhaps more poignant issues for the everyday business? Perhaps it doesn't bother you because the everyday things add up to be important enough? I mean, obviously voting for one person or another is not the same thing as having certain views yourself either. Just honestly curious to hear more about that interplay that I've never really heard a Mormon liberal expound on in depth. I guess I'm just curious to have someone tell me more about what it's like to be on the other (equally valid) side of the fence.

Saxon said... [reply]

I think I have all the answers. I absolutely do not,

My faith is shaken. Nemesis doesn't know all the answers! who will lead us now... :-)

Kelly said... [reply]

I know, Nem, I started with controversy. Sorry. It's been simmering for a few weeks. I would be interested in reading Sakhmet's view.

I was going to say more, but decided not to threadjack.

When I was in high school I told someone in Seminary that I would have voted for Clinton if I was old enough and the person said, "You're a Democrat?!" I said, "I suppose." Then the person said "So you're FOR abortions?!" No, that's not what that means.

I have also been informed that my liberal views are not reconcilable with being LDS. Oh well.

dietcokegrrl said... [reply]

For some political enlightenment, check out http://loveisthespin.blogspot.com/

Great stuff--especially the right side bar.

Some of my faves are:
http://loveisthespin.blogspot.com/2008/10/has-blog-been-given-new-lease-on-life.html

http://loveisthespin.blogspot.com/2008/10/why-pro-life-voters-should-choose-obama.html

http://loveisthespin.blogspot.com/2008/10/youre-in-for-it-ii-read-previous-post.html

http://loveisthespin.blogspot.com/2008/10/youre-in-for-it-iii-read-previous-posts.html

Melanie said... [reply]

I am a Republican (albeit a moderate one), but I do all that I can to combat the narrow-minded, knee-jerk, far right reactions and viewpoints that I hear coming from members of the Church (even and especially within my own family). I hate that the Republican party is known as the party of ignorant, anti-intellectual, extremist, religious fanatics.

In response to Kelly's comment (which I am also assuming refers to Prop 8), specific propositions are about issues. Prop 8 is about the definition of marriage; inherently that is not a partisan issue, although it has become so. The Church isn't aligning itself with any specific party or political ideology by supporting a moral issue.

It's a shame that certain issues become co-opted by a political party and end up producing a knee -jerk reaction from those who think and vote differently. For example, many Republicans automatically look at environmental issues suspiciously because concern for the environment is associated with the Democratic party. Conversely, many Democrats dismiss Republican fiscal policy assuming that it will only benefit big business. Unfortunately the parties themselves often bundle issues together so it can be difficult to, say, vote for an environmental conservation act but against a pro-choice provision. When possible though, we should look past party and focus on the issues.

dietcokegrrl said... [reply]

I meant to add that one of my favorite things on her blog is: "GOD is not spelled G-O-P"

I wish more people would make that distinction!!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Gretchen, you don't sound antagonistic at all, and I think your question is very, very valid. The sad part is that I don't think I'm the person best qualified to answer it. So if anyone wants to take a (civil) crack at it, the floor is yours. As for me I'm actually registered as an Independent, so I haven't actually made the Great Leap to the left side. And one of the reasons I initially registered as a Republican was because of the very thing you mentioned (the one or two issues being more important than the others). I guess for me what I'm seeing is that we're throwing out the baby with the bathwater. In STM's post (referenced above in her comment) she talks about the percentage of the Democratic party who does NOT believe in abortion and does NOT support same-sex marriage. But it seems like we want to make the two camps as far from each other as possible. Or, also bad, to not support any issue championed by the opposing party, simply BECAUSE it's supported by the other party (read: the environment being labeled as a Dem issue, and therefore shunned by the Republican majority). I guess what I'm hoping is that there is a way to oppose or support ISSUES without having to necessarily belong to a certain party, especially if that party doesn't really represent you on so many other counts. If that makes any sense at all, which it very well may not. :-)

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hahah, Melanie was speaking my words for my while I was trying to laboriously mumble them out. Thanks, Melanie!

Jenny said... [reply]

Its a good thing your genius sister found you that UC dems website, huh?

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Gretchen, if you want to hear specific ideas from Mormons who are purple and blue, you could probably start checking links on almost anybody on Nem's sidebar. There has been a lot of great political discussion in and around here for several months now. Discussion about all kinds of isues.

For me, abortion and gay marriage are not the only "moral" issues. War, poverty, equal access to education, responsible environmental stewardship are biggies too. And these are not issues the Republicans have grappled with very successfully in the last generation or so. I registered as a Democrat so I could vote in the primary, but in the end, my ballot split just about evenly down the middle. Mostly I'm frustrated with the idea that one party can be more moral than another. I'm frustrated when I go to Church and hear the wonderful, spiritual truths in the Book of Mormon turned into a political diatribe against any idea put forward by the Democrats. (I bet King Benjamin would have a word or two to say about that!) I'm frustrated that political strategists in the GOP have played on Christian doctrine and morality in order to get elected, but then haven't governed all the people, just the wealthy ones. I'm frustrated by any government that claims to be conservative because they have cut taxes, but have simultaneously spent so much on the military that our country will be bankrupt for a generation. I'm frustrated when my patriotism is called into question because I disagreed with going to Iraq. But mostly I'm frustrated when my members of the church whom I love and respect call my testimony into question because I'm moved to tears every time Barack Obama opens his mouth.

Nem is right: if more Mormons (and Christians in general) were Democrats then candidates would get on the ballot who were pro-life. There are hopeful signs. The current governor of Colorado is a pro-life, Catholic Democrat. My mother-in-law, a moderate Republican told me a couple of weeks ago, that he was doing a great job. His party almost didn't put him on the ballot though he has proved immensely popular. It is true that for many people, perhaps Mormons in particular, there are "big" issues that override everything else, and people must do what they think is right regardless of anybody elses opinion. But just being anti-abortion doesn't make a person moral or good or decent (just ask Rudy Guiliani's kids).

What a great conversation. I just love America.

Kelly said... [reply]

"For me, abortion and gay marriage are not the only "moral" issues. War, poverty, equal access to education, responsible environmental stewardship are biggies too."

STM, absolutely!

I wish there was some way to vote on issues without voting for a party or a candidate. Some sort of ballot that had issues listed and then laws were made (by who, I don't know, since I don't know how you elect people in that system) based on what the majority thinks on each individual thing.

MBC said... [reply]

You're a rock star. Run for an office, and I'll vote for you.

C. said... [reply]

A few things: 1) yes, I am Republican, just to get it out there; 2) yes, I do agree with them on most issues, financial, moral and otherwise and 3) I think that being a Democrat is perfectly valid, although I do get a little enraged over several topics so I make it a point only to discuss politics with people that I know well.

All that aside, I do have one thing to say about "Utah" politics versus elsewhere. Only in Utah and never anywhere else have I ever heard anything in church negative about the Democratic party or even anything positive about the Republicans. So I do think it's a bit unfair to say that church-wide we have that maniacal of a bias. Yes, we do tend to be Republican, but having lived in several states including Utah, I feel like I should bring up that we're not all convinced this is a good vs. evil struggle.

And one last thing (although I'm sorry if this brings up bad feelings)... my biggest beef with our system is not either of the parties, but the media's treatment of them. Now, I'm not saying that all media outlets are out to lynch Republicans or that things don't go both ways, but lately (the past few years) I have noticed more and more of a swing to the liberal viewpoint and I don't appreciate that facts are skewed and blame given where it doesn't belong. This article (http://greensboro.rhinotimes.com/orson.10.09.08.html) says it more eloquently and little more radically than I do, but I do think the basic idea behind it is a solid one: how can we make informed decisions if we are not given truly unbiased information?

That's all, and sorry if I offended anyone.

Anonymous said... [reply]

I would just like to point out a couple of things taken directly from lds.org

1. The Church has no political stance on abortion.

The following quote is taken from http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/public-issues/abortion :

"THE CHURCH HAS NOT FAVORED OR OPPOSED LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS OR PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS CONCERNING ABORTION."

2. Both McCain and Obama are against redefining marriage, as is the Church. The Church does not wish to take away same-sex rights. Its quarrel, rather, is with the redefinition of marriage.

The following quote is taken from http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/ :

"THE FOCUS OF THE CHURCH'S INVOLVEMENT IS SPECIFICALLY SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. THE CHURCH DOES NOT OBJECT TO RIGHTS (ALREADY ESTABLISHED IN CALIFORNIA) REGARDING HOSPITALIZATION AND MEDICAL CARE, FAIR HOUSING AND EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS, OR PROBATE RIGHTS, SO LONG AS THESE DO NOT INFRINGE ON THE INTEGRITY OF THE FAMILY OR THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF CHURCHES AND THEIR ADHERENTS TO ADMINISTER AND PRACTICE THEIR RELIGION FREE FROM GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE."

My point is this: neither party is more in line with the Church than the other. Well said, nem.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Dietcokegrrl, I didn't mean to leave you out before. Can't wait to get acquainted with the blog you recommend.

Jenny, yes, it is a good thing I have a genius Utah County sister, even if she does call me a cheap ho.

STM, I know! Look how cool everyone's being about our differences, yay!

MBC, I'm sure I'm not cut out for office. But the thought of your vote warms my hard little heart.

c., I agree with you. I think that in other parts of the US you find more political diversity (or just acceptance of the idea of political diversity) than you do in some parts of the famed Intermountain West. And in other areas of the world I really don't think you see such a ruckus about how members of the Church are voting. I also agree with you about how the parties are portrayed. I'm sure there are many, many (especially young) people who label themselves as "liberal" without actually knowing what that means, simply because that's what appears to be the thing to do, according to Hollywood, their friends, etc. Which is of course no better than declaring yourself a Republican simply because you're a Mormon and that's how all your Mormon neighbors vote. Seems like what we need here is more deliberate decision-making after looking at the actual facts.

Thanks, anon! One thing I've found when reading the Book of Mormon is that I personally can find support for causes championed by BOTH parties, rather than just one or the other.

Anonymous said... [reply]

I second what C. said about the whole "being condemned for being a democrat" thing only happening in Utah. I attend the most liberal ward on earth (it's true, you can look us up in the topical guide) at UC Berkeley. I have never heard anyone say anything critical of democrats at church; republicans... well yes of course (it is Berkeley after all). I think its a case of the majority viewpoint bullying the minority viewpoint which could happen anywhere.

Prop 8 is definitely a threadjack but I will say it has been very eye opening to see how people have responded differently to being asked by church leaders to donate money, knock doors, make phone calls, attend rallys, etc... in a positive and negative way. It has been really sad in some cases to hear people assume that since "traditional marriage must only be a republican issue" the church is supporting the republican cause and get bitter and nasty about our church leaders because they themselves are democrats. Steve Young's wife anyone....?

My rant is over!

- A Long Time Lurker

Janssen said... [reply]

Well, I now will spend the rest of the evening refreshing the comments page here and the CNN results page equally. Good times.

I find it appalling how difficult it is for most people to talk civilly about politics. For instance, a guy I went to high school with has his facebook status set to "Vote Yes on Prop 8 or take a shower with a plugged-in toaster." As if that sort of thing helps ANYONE. . .

Great post and excellent comments. I wish I could pass out cookies to everyone for being so lovely.

april said... [reply]

well said. i hate when people assume i'm republican just because i'm mormon. (i'm not all blue either. i've voted both ways, but once i purposefully voted all democrat because someone from church tried to tell me that "good mormons vote republican" crap). it does scare me how the republican party seems to feed on people's emotions about family issues and exploit them. let's encourage people to think for themselves, please. they keep calling obama an elitist when, helloooo, have you ever heard of man named mr. george w. bush?! anyhoo, i was actually very glad that john mccain got the nomination because he is a moderate and it's the extremes that i don't like (and then he went on to chose sarah palin - but i was in the obama camp anyway).

enough of my ramblings. the best line in the post is about how SNL can go back to sucking again. those tina fey spoofs were divine.

Lippy said... [reply]

I don't know your ideas well enough to be in a position to debate any one of them with you, but, I think this country would be a much better place if those who do engage in such debates did so with the sound reasoning, logic and eloquence you displayed here with this post.

Intelligence can bring about logical changes, and that's not a bad thing.

(this is me applauding you)

Kristeee said... [reply]

On the election returns coverage tonight, my favorite part was how they showed figures of the returns in every state, with a little check in the box next to the candidate who had won. Except in Utah. Utah had a box checked McCain, but NO RESULTS WERE SHOWN. It was just red. Our votes matter so much.

Patience said... [reply]

It's about time I left you a comment. I read your blog all the time and always have to snicker at your quick wit. *snicker snicker*
I even put you on a link list on my blog so I would not have to do so much clicking to get to you as my wrist is starting to go here in my 27th year. And beacuse I am from Canada, I feel like I know exactly what Alaska is like and going to BYU gave me a tast of Utah. K, I'm going to stop now before you barf a little in your mouth. thanks for the laughs!

Rachie said... [reply]

I actually just had some "anonymous" jerk tell me that I was a bigot and I wasn't Christ like due to my views on things. Stupid. I'm glad it's all over but I'm not happy at the result. I better never hear about racism or oppression ever again.

Loradona said... [reply]

I have one word to say: Amen.

Thank you for truly being the voice of reason. I can't tell you how alienated people have made me feel at church, simply because I am registered democrat (crazy, I know).

Um, I guess that was more than one word. Sorry.

Sherry Carpet said... [reply]

amen, nemesis, from another admiring lurker. good words. i feel fortified every time i find compassionate support in my sisters (and brothers) out there. i can and should stop feeling alone in my frustrations and hopes...so i think i will.

yes we can!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hee, Sherry Carpet! Yes we can, and we TOTALLY DID! (I'm going backwards for this round, just to be kooky.)

Loradona, thanks for your sweet word(s).

Rachie, that is not even cool. I don't know what your views are, but I'm sure they don't deserve that. Trolls suck.

Patience, I'm glad you de-lurked today. Thanks so much for the compliment, and please try to stay warm up there!

Kristee, yeah, I saw that too. And I was EXTRA confused when it was reporting that Obama actually won the popular vote in Utah. That seemed a bit . . . beyond expectations.

Lippy, I am always, ALWAYS excited to see you comment, especially since I know you're usually coming from a different point of view but are so open-minded. I'm sure you give me too much credit, but I'm happy if I can make you proud. ;-)

April, yes. I totally agree with you that the (both) parties have seemed bent on commandeering certain values and then scaring people into siding with them. I would really, really like it if we could get away from that.

Janssen, UGH on the toaster comment. And I absolutely agree with you on the cookies! I wish we were all having a lovely get-together at my house right now, eating cupcakes with red and blue frosting. And wassail. Because I'm in the mood for wassail.

Long-Time Lurker, thanks for speaking up!!

EmAndTrev said... [reply]

I'm a little late for the party on this one, but amen, sister, amen...

Kimberly Bluestocking said... [reply]

If the Democratic party was good enough for James E. Faust, it's good enough for the rest of us.

Becki Becki Bo Becki said... [reply]

Why didn't I know this blog existed until now?! I'm so behind...

Yeah, what can I say about this post that hasn't been said? Does "spot on" do the trick?

I've had debate after debate with friends/peers about political ideology and Church association and Utah society and blah blah. I'm a full Obama supporter (hallelujah for tonight!) and one of the reasons I really liked him from the beginning is that he tried to look beyond party affiliation and unite the body politic. I appreciated that he recognized and admitted that issues of today aren't simple and it takes more than "sound-byte solutions" to fix them. He focuses on what we can all do and how we can see commonalities and work together. I like that. It brings me hope.

Now we've all got to continue the dialogue and continue caring about these issues tomorrow and next month and next year.

PS-Science teacher, you are correct: poverty, peace, education, environmental stewardship, etc. are ALL moral issues. It kills me when people tell me I have no morals because I vote blue. (I actually had a fellow church member--in response to hearing I was a registered D--say to me, "so what DO you believe?")

And, Kimberly, I love the Faust example--I use that one all the time!

chosha said... [reply]

Excellent, intelligent post. That's all.

Carly said... [reply]

I totally agree with you on this one. But that's not why I'm commenting. Just thought you might be interested in this article... http://cityguides.msn.com/citylife/cityarticle.aspx?cp-documentid=10444020
Someone's favorite library made the top 10 list! I was excited and had to share.

amyjane said... [reply]

Um, wow. You go, lady. Thanks for your ideas. We've been having much talk like this in our home....especially difficult since I refuse to call myself a republican OR a democrat. Makes my husband crazy that I won't commit. I've read that article by Elder Jensen before--I really like it.

Also, while I initially had issues with the church endoring prop 8 but have really changed my mind, over the last few weeks. Living so close to CA, we've been heavily involved and there are good reason the church "stuck their nose" in this one.

And finally, may I just share? My 85 year old, stake president/stake patriarch, republican grandfather voted for Obama yesterday. Because he thinks it is necessary and useful for power to swing between the parties. And because he feels that he is the better man for the job right now. I thought that was very interesting.

april said... [reply]

ok, just adding my two cents to the depends where you live idea. yes, "the good mormon votes republican" thing happened to me when i lived in seattle (and i do acknowlege it wasn't the most mature move on my part to vote all democrat just in spite - i now actually try and research), but it is less prevalent here in the northeast (which is now all blue BTW). when i told one of my good friends who had been raised in a born again faith that our church encourages members to vote but doesn't say who to vote for, her response was: "that's actually quite liberal for a christian faith." our plumber left his church at the last election when they decided to support george w. bush. even mitt was too liberal for the right wing. so at least mormons are liberal for right wingers.

Anonymous said... [reply]

Have you read the momedy blog (sorry, can't remember her name)? She's another awesome democrat mormon (and her kids are cute too). I found her through Rocks in My Dryer's Works for Me Wednesday

Breanne said... [reply]

#5 is exactly what happened to me while standing in the line to vote. I felt totally threatened, too. It was horrible.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

This is just awesome.

I have lived in both Texas and in Oregon during election years. It is always an election year when we study the Book of Mormon--perhaps an unhappy coincidence. In both locations there are days I just have to keep my head down and bite my tongue during Sunday School.

And yet, in both places, I've also managed to find unique and wonderful women of widely differing political opinions--particularly younger women. I think Nem's original post put it best when she says that no party will ever reflect LDS values if there are no LDS people in it.

redlaw said... [reply]

nem,
i want to reach through my computer and hug you right now. also, i want you to know that you are not alone. there are more of us left-leaning mormons than you may think...i'm lucky to know several here at school with me (but hey, we're lawyers, we have to be democrats).
the church may never shake its (well-earned) republican association but there are those of us who show people every day through our words and actions that we can be strong mormons and democrats. i've been vocal about my political leanings during this election because i want people to understand that i can believe in god and think that a democrat can lead this country.
i feel pretty passionate about this so i'll stop but i LOVED this post - thank you!!

jane dough said... [reply]

Well said. You have earned the title "Voice of Reason" for this post alone. You rock my blog-stalking world.

janetkavery said... [reply]

Hi Steph,
Your mother passed your blog on to me....to show me she'd raised her children to think for themselves.

She did a good job! Max, Zach and Genevee (Zach's wife!) think much like you...and are famous for standing up for their own thoughts....challenging others in their thinking....and generally being troublemakers! like me!!!

I'm very proud of them....you....and your mother.

Janet

Megs said... [reply]

I think I may have one friend who was in the comments section of this post, so I feel like my comment is almost valid. :) This post was pointed out to me after a a few of us evil liberal Democrats (and our Republican friend who was foolish enough to stand up for us) spent most of election day being attacked as baby killers on the blogs of some good friends. It's comforting to see so many out there who are aware of the fact that my vote for Obama will not guarantee my cozy-warm spot in hell. Thank you all for existing.

shelbs said... [reply]

I completely and fully agree with your political commentary, there. I am sick and tired of all the sore Republican voters who proclaim wide and far that we have just elected a Muslim Communist as our President.
Before my government class, I never fully grasped how one-partied (and close-minded)Utah is. It's ironic that for a religion supposedly so accepting, a majority of Mormons flat out refuse to weigh their political options.
Even on my debate team, where most kids are more on the leftist liberal side, kids are conservative and incapable of listening to the other side. You would not believe how many people could not tell me why they liked Mccain so much, today. I don't have so much a problem with being a Republican, but being a straight ticket voter and with no reason to support your decision really bugs me. Especially since I couldn't even vote this year.

AzĂșcar said... [reply]

I like to think I sometimes foster thoughtful discussions on politics--on the occasion when I post them.

Of course I just got an anonymous comment, like Rachie, saying that my vote wasn't in line with the prophets. Loved that.

Anyway, I'm a faithful Mormon Democrat. STM explained it better than I could. Not to mention that my family are all Mormon Democrats, including a father that *GASP* is in the religion department at BYU. We're here, we're growing, and I've been more heartened by this election than any in my memory.

I'm over the moon!

CoolBoy said... [reply]

I guess I'll get around to posting on here, even though we already talked a bit on the night of the election. I think I’ll be the last to post, so I’m going to take the liberty of ranting and meandering.
For the most part, I don't feel I correspond too much with either major party. They both have good things and things that bother the crap out of me.
I loved April's comment, "it does scare me how the Republican Party seems to feed on people's emotions about family issues and exploit them.” I can totally get into this one. I feel that's what the Republican party pretty much always does for votes: drastic little moves to exploit particular factions. Sarah Palin (my governor) was picked to boost votes from stay-at-mom moms and evangelicals. It didn't work, so the Repubs tanked in this election.
The church doesn't aline with ANY one political flavor. For example, the church's standpoint on abortion is NOT strictly Pro-Life. Furthermore, the Prop 8 issue wasn't about furthering the political ideals of one party, it was about 1 specific issue that also happens to have millions of unfortunate bigot fanatics that always manage to get more screen time on the news (I might add that it's amazing that the psychos are always the ones that get interviewed). The church's stand on Prop 8 was that God made marriage between a man and a woman and that it is NOT our right to change the definition (see church website).
Prop 8 tangent: It's one of my favorites when people turn this into a civil rights issue and accuse the majority of terrorizing the minority. So...are you saying that the minority should preside over the majority? I hope not. Looks like we ought to take another look into those Federalist Paper thingys. When the majority of citizenry think that we ought to change the definition of marriage, that’s when we ought to do it. Judges shouldn’t just go for it in the mean time.
As for Utah, I think it's hilarious that the whole state is Republican; after all, it was the Republican party that made all the fuss about polygamy, and even left U.S. boarders to harass us a couple times.
However, I think the biggest factor in Barack Obama bring elected was that our country does not like President Bush...at all. So everyone is reacting to get as far from him as they can. The number of Mormon Democrats is on the rise for that same reason. The Republican Party doesn’t seem to be doing much to help the nation (unless you consider the last 8 years as a victory), or even to help themselves. I hold the Republican party closer to my heart than the Democratic, but the party as a whole seems completely washed-up, worn-out, and broken. While I didn't vote for Obama, I believe that being contentious and pessimistic won't help us (my neighbor had a little sign on his apartment that said “Liberty dies to thunderous applause” after the election, I nearly barfed on the window). The nation’s decided. Obama is a patriot. Be wary of those that try to establish their own patriotism by calling into question to patriotism of others. Now is when we involve ourselves and use the established methods in our system to make our country what we want it to be. That’s the American way.

mj said... [reply]

hmm. i kind of doubt anyone is reading comment #50 or whatever it is by now, but i am always happy to see such intelligent interaction on the internets where you usually find angry vitriol from people hiding behind their computers that can not imagine how a person could think differently than they do without being an idiot. good comments, one and all.

i personally am falling in love with my state of recent years (virginia!) which just turned blue this election. both senators and our governor are pragmatic, moderate democrats, while just a few short years ago it was all republicans. our governor is also quite religious and talks about his life-changing (catholic) mission as a young man. i think a lot more people are starting to see that "the values voters are all of us" (title of an essay i wrote after the last presidential election) and that something as basic as taking care of the poor is very much a moral issue. anyway, if virginia can turn from red to blue then utah can accept a few more alternate views.

Becki Becki Bo Becki said... [reply]

I have to give a follow-up comment. I live in a very conservative city in Utah and I chose to post an Obama sign in my front yard. Now I had heard of sign-stealers and was a little worried my house might get egged one of these days. Instead, however, I found a lot of neighbors, fellow church-goers, and even my postman commending me on my sign. I know they didn't all agree with me, but I think they tried to respect that I was thinking through the issues. I was, to say the least, a bit shocked and pleasantly surprised.

Kathryn said... [reply]

Amen, sister!

little mama said... [reply]

I was happy to read this post - this first and only political post I can say that about.
I don't understand the assumption that I must think about every issue the way _________ does because we are both members. And then my awesome little Bro-in-law called the morning after the elections, and was full of end of the world sentiments. I mean, seriously?

So, yeah, thanks for saying what I am not able to. I really appreciate it.

Sarah Marie said... [reply]

I was discussing the election with my roommate when she referred me to your blog to check out this series of comments. These issues are very near and dear to my heart, and all I have to say (after reading this whole thing) is this:

I. LOVE. YOU. ALL!

Anonymous said... [reply]

I agree, I'm with any party that wants to eradicate fags and mormons. "YES WE CAN"

CoolBoy said... [reply]

Anon, that didn't even make sense.
Take a hike.

Corrine said... [reply]

Wow nem, you had a much more positive response to your political blog post than I did with mine. All these comments have renewed my faith in reason and logic. ;)

Moving outside of the Mormon bubble has made a big difference on my political views, mostly because there are so many more now to compare! You shared your views very well, thanks for sharing.

signed, The formerly spinster girl living in England that almost met you at church.

p.s. belated congrats on your wedding!

Lesley-Ann said... [reply]

Wow what a powerful piece of reading, thanks Steph it certainly has made me think. Hope you are both well x

Nells-Bells said... [reply]

i love this because my hubby and i had a conversation similar to this before election day (i.e. you cannot be a mormon and a democrat where i would reply, 'that is not true.' i am going to have to show him this argument. better worded than i could do. :)

Jadie said... [reply]

I'd like to point out that the GOP platform and the LDS Church's stance on abortion are NOT the same. A link to the Church's stance has been provided in a former post, but here it is again for convenience:

"Abortion
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life. Therefore, the Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience, and counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions.

The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:

• Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or

• A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or

• A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

The Church teaches its members that even these rare exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct.

The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion."


The GOP's platform is as such:
"Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life."

A human life amendment would make all abortions illegal (except when the life of the mother is threatened--not the health mind you, but the life), even for the exceptions outlined by the Church.

Something to think about...

Cafe Johnsonia said... [reply]

I repeat--we could totally be best friends. How is it that I never knew about your blog?

thecapitall said... [reply]

*Cheers*

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