Friday, November 09, 2012

Four More Years: Trying To See Things From The Other Side

Well, I am pleased with the results of the election, obviously.  Do I think the world would have ended had Mitt Romney been elected?  Do I think America would have gone down the toilet?  No, I do not.   But a lot of my conservative friends seem to think Obama being reelected is the end of American society as we know it and that the end is near.  A lot of these friends are Mormon.

Look, a Romney presidency wouldn't have thrilled me.  I don't think his policies would have led me or this country in a direction I would have enjoyed.  But I don't think Mitt Romney is a bad man or that he would intentionally try to destroy America.  I just found him a bit disingenuous.  I actually believe Mitt Romney to be a moderate guy, but I feel he played up to the most extreme elements of the Republican party in order to succeed.  Maybe he had to; it's all political, but I just felt he compromised himself too much to appeal to ultra-right, and that lost some of my respect.  And if he is as conservative as he pretended to be (and I think he was pretending to win an election), well, then, I'm not interested in that, either.

But destroy the country?  No, I don't think Mitt Romney would have done that nor do I think Barack Obama will, either.  After all this country has weathered - a Depression, assassinations, wars (one which was the Civil War and could have easily destroyed this country forever), poverty, crime, drought, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, polarization of political parties, etc.- I think we can make it through anything.

But if you were to believe some of my friends (and some of their friends), we're doomed.  Here are some direct quotes from Facebook:

"I am ill... totally ill. Why is America so stupid? No more hail to the chief... we are going to be a socialist nation.... OMG... I want to cry for our nation. Now all we can do is pray and hope that the Lord hears our prayers ... and maybe strike a certain reelected officials with lightning?  ... Obama won, I don't support him, but I will pray for our nation and for the direction it's about to go in... and hope that we can survive another four years as a democracy with a socialist dictator as our president."

"The Constitution is still the supreme law, you still have freedom of Religion, Choice, Press , Assembly stand up for what you know is right. America is a Great nation because it is Good, when it ceases to be Good it will cease to be Great. This nation is founded on God given principles, the war in heaven was exactly that a War about our Agency, Christ gave us Agency & Lucifer wanted to force us, it is still going on."

"My neice posted this scripture this morning--- 'And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.' Mosiah 29:27"

 "[My son] is going to kill me, but he made me laugh last night while watching the outcome---he sat up and said 'I know who Obama is---He is MEGAMIND! He is out to destroy us and will leave our beautiful country in ruins!!!' haha except Megamind only had one minion---Obama has millions :)"

"i'm watching our nation get flushed down the toilet..."

 "This is a dark day for our country. Now more then ever we need to stay close to the Lord and follow the prophet!"

"We will be living in a different America four years from now..."

”'For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.

"'Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction.'


"'it came to pass that Nephi had become weary because of their iniquity; and he yielded up the judgment-seat, and took it upon him to preach the word of God all the remainder of his days, and his brother Lehi also, all the remainder of his days;

"'And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”

"Excerpts from the Book of Mormon, Book of Helaman 5:2-12"
"The treasonous bastard is back for another four years of stomping on the constitution and our freedoms, and sending us closer to financial ruin. We have just witnessed the end of America."

"'the last days' are getting closer. get ready usa. get ready world. the signs are getting stronger & stronger. seriously... crazy stuff. ❤still love u Mitt❤ so thankful WE know the truth. there's a reason for everything. PREPARE!"

"I am so sick to my stomach and disgusted and so worried for the future of my kids that I have decided to take a day of silence praying and pondering... God bless america"

"The scariest part is that we live in a country where a majority of the country lived through an awful last four years and still thought it was a good idea to reelect Obama. What hope does that leave America?"

"I'm still just sick this morning. And I suppose in all fairness, it's not just about the president being unrighteous, it's about the nation that chose him being unrighteous. Knowing the signs of the times and what lies ahead makes me nervous, but I am trying to gird up my loins and fresh courage take since God will never us forsake. The fact that He is unleashing His army at this time because, by law, there is always and equal amount of bad and good. That's why I choose to be part of the GOOD part!"

"Am I surprised?---NO----this just proves where this country is headed. It is prophecy. We know this country is going to be in complete disarray-there will be chaos and confusion and lack of moral values (wickedness) and when it seems that our country will be gone as we know it---God will step in and other things are going to happen that I will not post on facebook, but most of you know what is going to happen---get your food storage stocked up---we are headed in a downward spiral even more quickly now---but i"if ye are prepared ye shall not fear"!!! So grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!!"

"Oh no....we are all going to have a freedoms gone. This could easily be our final election because he will appoint himself Emperor and we will all be slaves to his majesty!"

My first instinct was to get all judgmental and criticize some of these statements, some of which I still think are a bit high on the hyperbole, but then I tried to remember how I felt when George W. Bush was re-elected.  Although his opponent, John Kerry, wasn't the strongest choice, I did like Kerry and couldn't believe people would be so stupid to reelect someone who I felt was doing a terrible job.  So I get it.  The feelings are still raw and people are disappointed and, apparently, scared.

I didn't write about my feelings when George W. Bush was reelected.  I was going to graduate school at the time and was quite busy.  My journal shows quite a large gap from 2004 to 2006 (I started this blog then, and that helped me write more), which is unfortunate because those were some pretty influential years for me.

However, when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, I did write my feelings about that, and rereading them, I feel that many of those same thoughts could just as easily have been written yesterday as they were 4 years ago.

This is some of what I wrote:

                On November 4th  the incredible happened: Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.  It was a thrilling, thrilling moment.  I have been an active and ardent supporter of Barack Obama’s for quite some time now.  When he and Hillary Clinton were running in the primaries, I liked them both very much but leaned towards Hillary because of her experience and strength of name.  However, when Obama won the Democratic primary and as I continued to get to know him as a candidate, I put my full support behind him, donated to his campaign, put up campaign signs, and encouraged friends to see the same leader I saw in front of me.

                I have never in my lifetime been so behind a presidential candidate.  For the first time in a long, long time (perhaps ever) I felt I was actually voting for someone rather than just against their opponent.  When Bill Clinton ran the first time I was on my mission and didn’t know much about him and voted for him on the recommendation of my parents.  When he ran against Bob Dole, it was a no-brainer.  Al Gore was really the lesser of two evils for me.  I liked John Kerry, but again, it was a no-brainer.

                This year two exciting candidates have run, both of whom I have been impressed with personally (although I was not impressed with the McCain campaign’s smear tactics); but it was clear to me that there was something different and special about Barack Obama.  I truly wish his opponents and those who are indifferent could see the man I see.  Now I understand if people don’t agree with his government policies or his stands on certain political issues.  Perhaps they think universal health care is a bad idea.  Perhaps they’re nervous about his stand on a woman’s right to choose.  Perhaps they think raising taxes is a bad idea in today’s faltering economy.  Perhaps they think an early withdrawal from Iraq is faulty.  That I can respect (although not necessarily agree with).

                What does bother me is uninformed, ignorant, and even hateful people who think he’s a Muslim terrorist or a subversive Arab or the anti-Christ or is planning on ruining the world with socialism or liberal judges in the Supreme Court; who think he’s somehow going to bring about the downfall of America and society as we know it; who are actually afraid of him or who don’t like him because he’s black; who think his associations with free-thinkers (whether those free-thinkers be right or wrong and whether his associations with them have been minimal or prevalent) somehow make him a terrible person; who think he’s a liar or some horrible monster or has secret, ulterior motives or some hidden agenda that will bring about our downfall.  That I cannot tolerate.

                What I’ve seen as I’ve observed Barack Obama these last couple of years is an intelligent, moral, inspiring individual who truly cares about the United States and its citizens.  If one thinks his policies are bad for America, I can buy that; but don’t tell me he doesn’t have the United States’ best interests at heart.  Although I think George W. Bush’s policies were terrible and detrimental to this country, I have never accused him of not caring about our country or of not believing in his heart that he was doing what he thought was best for this country.

                In Barack Obama I see a man who is honest and tries to tell it like it is.  I see a man who doesn’t claim to have all the answers and is willing to listen to anyone’s ideas regardless of what side of the aisle they are on.  I see a man who is willing to admit when he is wrong.  I see a man who tries to inspire and unite others.  I see a man who leads by example rather than just words.  I see a man who symbolizes hope, optimism, and positive change.  I see a man who wants to be accountable to the people who elected him.  I see a man who cares more about the citizens of America than he does himself.  I see a man who is humble, and I see a man who I believe believes in God.  I see a man who rules more by hope and love than fear.  I see a man who is a diplomat who has consistently taken the high road during this campaign, who remains calm during a crisis and when attacked but who still is commanding and won’t back down when threatened.

                After eight years of what I consider one of the worst, if not the worst, presidencies in US history and certainly in my lifetime (and I include Nixon in that lineup), I finally feel like the sunshine is breaking through the clouds that have been hanging over us for so long.  I feel optimistic about our future and feel that hopefully mistakes can be rectified, our standing in the world can improve, and we can unite as a people.  Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen, but that’s how I feel.

                It’s funny, my first instinct to those who are frightened of an Obama presidency or who somehow think the country is “screwed” because of it is to say, “Welcome to how I’ve felt these last eight years.  It’s my turn to be optimistic and hopeful for a change.”  But that is a fleeting and foolish sentiment.  What I really want most is for us to stop being so divisive and hateful towards each other and learn to come together to work for the benefit of all Americans; to stop being so greedy, self-centered, and self-serving.

                I really have felt strongly lately that Barack Obama is just the kind of man we need to lead our nation at this particular time in history.  I have felt that we are in for some very difficult times, perhaps economically or in world relations, and that Obama is just the kind of leader we will need during that difficult period, much as I would say the same for someone like Abraham Lincoln or Franklin D. Roosevelt, who I feel did great things during very perilous times.

                I actually think the economy is in serious trouble.  We may fall into a depression, which worries me somewhat considering both my career and the fact that I’m now helping to pay for a house.  But I do feel like Obama will be a good leader.  I think he will bring new ideas as well as inspire and cultivate hope and optimism, which is just what we will need.

                I’ve actually been impressed with how quickly he has already began his transition and the people he’s chosen to be in his cabinet.  It was so wonderful to finally see my guy win for a change.

                I was quite the election junkie while the election was going on, and on election night I flipped between CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and Comedy Central (where Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were having their own comedy election coverage).  Ironically, it was Jon Stewart I was watching when the news broke that Barack Obama would be our next president.  I was so thrilled and emotional.  I cried because I was so happy.  As I said, I like John McCain, but I feel that the man we needed right now was Barack Obama, and is was thrilling and exciting to see him win, and it filled me with such optimism.

                Of course, there was also the great historical moment of having our first black president, although race was never an important issue to me during this election.  I don’t care what color a person’s skin is; I just want to know what issues are important to them and what they plan to do to solve various problems that are important to me.  But obviously the election of an African-American is momentous.  It was so wonderful to see all the black people’s faces as they saw that, yes indeed, a black man can be president, and that race was not denying them this moment.  It was thrilling to think that just 40 or so years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was talking about dreams that were now actually coming true.  Never during his time would you believe a black man would be president, and here we are today.  It’s so exciting, and I speculate it’s a great moment especially for African-Americans, but I think it’s also a terrific time for Americans.

               I do think the Democratic party has lost power since 1968, but I am hopeful things are turning around for them.  I am also pleased to see that we’ve got a Democratic president, and Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House.  That’s not to say that I don’t think there should be a balance of power, but it’s nice to see that the balance of power has shifted to the Democrats for a change.
 I think one of the reasons John McCain lost was his choice of running mate.  While I liked John McCain, I absolutely did not care for Sarah Palin at all.  First of all, I found her lack of experience quite frightening, but more than that I found her political beliefs completely opposite of my own, and it really annoyed me that so many people (and many Utahns) liked her because she was “one of them.”  Well, excuse me, but I don’t want someone “like me.”  I want someone who knows what they’re doing.  The woman had no clue as far as foreign policy goes, for crying out loud!  It also really annoyed me how people find someone like Barack Obama more scary than someone like Sarah Palin.  I would be far less at ease with someone like her a heartbeat away from the presidency than I would having someone like Barack Obama at the helm.  I actually found her to be a bit dangerous.  I’m glad I won’t have to worry about her…for a while, at least.

Reading this again, I still carry most of these feelings, and that actually makes me feel good.  It means Barack Obama has remained the person I thought I elected and has done many of the things he said he would do.

Look, I get why people don't like Barack Obama and his policies.  I didn't care of Bush's or Romney's, either, so I get it.  But I never thought Bush or Romney were trying to destroy the US or that they were bad people or that the world as we knew it was going to end because of them.  

Certainly, the eight years under Bush's administration were not pleasant for me, just as I imagine my conservative friends feel the same was about another four years of an Obama administration, but I do wish people could see Barack Obama the way I do.  And I wish I could see things from their point of view as well because I do not quite understand it.

This post on Mormon Feminist Housewives summed up some of my thoughts about all the "gloom and doom."



Crisco said...

Facebook was ugly for a day or two. I agree that the response to the reelection of Obama was completely over the top. One guy I know compared his feelings to those he had right after 9/11. Incredible. Different policies does not equal the end of civilization, the defeat of liberty or a new era of communism (they say socialism but it feels like they mean communism).

Gay LDS Actor said...

It got crazy on my Facebook, too. I think it was just people expressing a lot of raw feelings, but boy, the hyperbole was at an all-time high. I sure wish we could all figure out how to disagree with one another without being disagreeable. Mostly, I wish we could figure out how to work together towards common goals in a productive and useful way. It seems so hard for many people to do these days.

Dean Scott said...

Many of my Facebook friends posts were unreal. I especially enjoyed the ones posted on other people's walls that I could tell were written for my salvation. I ended up posting a non-confrontational caption with a photo of pretty leaves.

I saw the next day that gay and straight friends all over the political nad religious spectrum had "liked" the photo. That day's post was another pretty photo with a comment that I hoped the we as people, Congress, and President Obama could come together like a photo of pretty fall colored leaves brought people together.

. said...

"I sure wish we could all figure out how to disagree with one another without being disagreeable."

Naivete is not a virtue.

This is war.

Gay LDS Actor said...

I see nothing naive about it. I maintain that you can disagree very strongly with someone's position, but still keep your civility and decorum.

When we attack each other or resort to name-calling and low blows, we will never make any progress with those who disagree with us, and we just end up running around in useless circles.

I think we should be better than that. War or not, when we lose our civility and kindness, I think we lose our humanity. If that's naive, I would rather live in that world.