Monday, July 18, 2016

A title of liberty for election 2016

After the 2004 election, another student in my graduate program remarked that she hadn't voted because she "didn't want to be part of the system." My reaction at the time was an exasperated, "Well, thank you for helping to give us four more years of Bush." Which I said to her out loud because I'm a d--k that way.

And now, 12 years later, I find myself wondering if I might sit out this year's election, at least the presidential race. Because as appalled--appalled!!!!--as I am to see the Republican Party reconciling itself to Donald Trump and setting itself the task of pitching him to the nation, and as frightened--frightened!!!!--as I am that he could actually win... I don't like being in the situation of doing what I'm appalled at Republican moderates for doing: i.e., reconciling myself to a presidential candidate I have qualms about because I think that at least that person's better than the other party's candidate.

Not that the situations are equivalent. But they're analogous enough to make me feel icky.

I dunno. Maybe I'll write in a candidate.

Whatever I do, I'm taking the following as my guide for election 2016:
In memory of our God,
our religion,
and our peace.
(Alma 46:12)
The original text also includes "freedom," of course, and I'm in favor of that, too. But that word gets thrown around so much in American political discourse that I'd rather let my attention linger over the other elements of Moroni's slogan.

If I vote, it will be for candidates who I think will advocate policies in line with the values of the God I know and worship.

If I vote, it will be for candidates who I think will advocate policies in line with the values of my religion--the values of Jesus.

If I vote, it will be for candidates who I think will advocate policies that promote peace.

And yeah, I know, I shouldn't expect purity in politics. So yeah, I know, maybe I have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Maybe that's my Christian duty here.

And yeah, I know, this whole "a pox on both your houses" posture I'm articulating right now is annoyingly sanctimonious, because God knows I've found it annoying when I've read it being articulated by other religious commentators in the past. "Look at me, I'm up with God, in transcendent purity, above the fray."

(It's people who like to imagine they're above the fray, able to criticize both sides, who will vote Donald Trump into the White House, if that happens.)

But on the opening night of the Republican national convention, taking place less than a half hour's drive from the Kirtland Temple, this is the state of my thinking.

And I'm praying. I'm praying that my fellow Americans will do what makes for peace. I pray that all those folks out there who talk about wanting America to be a Christian nation will recognize anti-Christ when they see it. I pray that I'll recognize it when I see it. And that I'll know what to do about it in my capacity as a citizen.