Wednesday, November 7, 2012

There are many things I am thankful for #5: Please be nice about your political responses

Today is one of the days that validates why I created this blog and why it is aptly named to refer to finding a balance between seemingly contradictory things. Actually, today it is hard to feel thankful for the issues that are weighing most heavily on my mind.

I am both a Mormon and someone who leans toward the ideals of the Democrats. To me, this makes all the sense in the world as my main focus in doing so is to ensure that government can help to assist people who are in need. Actually, I have a really hard time understanding how any Christian can feel differently about such issues, if I am really being honest. But I am not here to debate the merits of those who won and lost, truly. I need to express my immense disappointment in the response of others to the results of the election.

I  understand that Romney supporters are feeling sad, worried and discouraged, among other things. But being in the position that I am, I get to see how a handful of those people are choosing to express those feelings and it's not pretty. In fact, I'm embarrassed and ashamed on their behalf.  I am speaking mostly to the Mormons I know who supported Romney, admittedly a huge chunk of the church affiliated folks who I know. I was behind them in their excitement for someone they can relate to being on such a precipice of power in this country, even if all of his plans for the country differed from what I would like to see. But the responses I have read last night and so far today are making a population that, as this election season and research has shown, many people are uninformed about and even prejudiced against, look as bad as people expect. It was hard for me, personally, not to want to defend Romney a lot of the time even if I actually wasn't rooting for him so I can only imagine how defensive it must have made people who identify with him and were, indeed, rooting for his victory. But the anger, vitriol, fear inspiring doomsday messages and unkind words that I am reading are just not right. Comments about "uneducated idiots", "ignorant" people, and the word evil being featured prominently do not look good on you, folks. That kind of aggression makes YOU look like the bad guy, and definitely not Christ like as you say that you aim to be. And the scripture quotes and doomsday messages that I can only assume are meant to shame others are inappropriate in their intentions.

I can honestly say that I respect the different opinions and points of view that make people feel and vote in the different ways that they do. Frankly, I think some are uninformed and that if church members did more service outside of the church community they would benefit from being exposed to people who have had experiences you can't even fathom and who don't have a church welfare system to back them up, unfortunately. I really love the ideals that say we don't need government to help people because people should help each other but that's just not the way this country works at this point in time. I work for a non-profit agency. I see the overwhelming generosity of a small group of dedicated people but also the tremendous amount of energy it takes to cultivate donors. And I actually don't see a lot of church groups jumping in, I am sorry to report.

So while I can empathize with the frustrations felt by many today, I sincerely hope people can quell their emotional reactivity a bit and heed the words uttered by so many concession speeches, the official statement offered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and many well intentioned, peace seeking citizens. Do things that work for you to release your negative emotions and then do all you can to make the world the better place you would like to see it be by the sweat of your own brow. Pray for the elected leaders. And help create as much unity in this country as we can all muster. But, most importantly, don't lose your integrity by being a hostile person in the process of standing up for the things you think are important.

Be the change you want to see in the world. I am thankful for that quote offered, I believe, by Gandi. 


  1. I don't like all the anger either, although I can understand where it's coming from. I thought the Church's response was perfect and exemplary for members and non-members alike. As for the election results, I accept that that's the way it is and I choose to have faith and be happy.
    P.S. I just came from helping with a lunch to serve the homeless. It really is good to get out in the community and help others who are living in very difficult situations, like you said.