This is a post that my friend Dylan had on his wonderfully creative and exceptional-in-all-ways blog. It was a while ago and I wanted to stand up and shout, "Here, Here, Brother Todd." I thought it was an interesting perspective, especially from another "liberal Mormon." I don't know if he wants to be all pimped out from my blog, but check out his site if you want some great commentary and/or comic book reviews. (Thanks, Dylan, for sending me the link AND commenting. I'd just finished my post, but appreciated the comment, too. I'll be a better listener.)
Dear Sister So & So ...
There's a lady in our church who has been forwarding these right-wing political e-mails to us lately. This annoyed me. The first one I ignored. The second one irked me. The third one got a response. What follows is the complete draft of my response e-mail. In the end I opted for a the first sentence, but here it is in its glory. You can tell me if it was wise to send this to someone who I'm not sure I even know who she is:
Dear Sister So & So,
I hope this doesn't offend you and know that what follows is meant with respect and love, but we would appreciate if you would please stop forwarding these political e-mails to us. Just because we go to the same church does not necessarily mean that we hold the same political opinions. See, I and my wife are Mormon Democrats, one of those mythical creatures you read about in books but never see in reality, like a unicorn or the Loch Ness Monster. There are not many of us, but we do exist.
As to your forwarded e-mail, titled "Wake Up, People", I would like a chance to respond to some of the things I took umbrage with.
Personally, I am glad I live in a country where I and my countrymen are free to say what they will about the President, regardless of the who sits in the Oval Office. And yes, this includes jokes at out leadership's expense, in peacetime or war. This is why my ancestors fled their native lands years and generations ago, to be free to speak their mind without fear of being clapped in irons or beheaded in the public square. I'm glad that I have the freedom to say that our war with Iraq is misguided at best, a complete sham and a waste of life and treasure at worst. I am glad that people are free to protest a war they do not agree with just as I am glad and proud of those men and women who fight on behalf of our country. I only wish we were honoring their sacrifice with a war that was worth dying for. I am glad that someone like Stephen Colbert can roast the President at the White House Correspondents dinner and not have to worry about "being disappeared." Partially because it reminds us that our leaders are human beings, not infallible demigods whose word is as if from Heaven.
Also, because it's funny.
I am glad that newspapers keep watch over our government and expose inhumane treatment of fellow human beings in the custody of our armed forces. As an American and as a Christian, I cannot see any instance where complete degradation, physical torture (I looked "waterboarding" up; it's torture) and gross mistreatment can be construed as proper or necessary. If this is what we have to do to win "the War on Terror," then I don't think I want to win. I don't think we deserve to win.
I am glad that I can worship God as I see fit and am glad that our Constitution affords others the privilege to do so as well. Even Muslims. If the recent polygamy sect coverage in Texas teaches me anything, it's that it's a tricky proposition to lump a small group of fanatics in with a larger religious group. I personally cringe whenever "Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" is spoken over the air because I know that being tied, even tangentially, to that sadness on display sets us back as a people. I would imagine that Muslims feel a similar twinge of remorse when their religion is portrayed as a haven of psychopathic zealots hot for Infidel blood.
I am glad that, come November, I can step into a little booth and, after months of thoughtful consideration and prayer, (and I'm serious about this. I've prayed about it. And I feel good about my decision.) vote my conscience as to whom (did I use that word right? Doesn't sound right.) would make the best leader for our country for the next four to eight years. I am confident you will do so as well.
As a member of the church I think one of the most interesting things I have learned is that "united" does not mean "uniform." We can disagree on things like politics, sports, science or American Idol and still be working toward the same goal: happiness in this life and eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whether Republican, Democrat or in-between, I truly believe that the vast majority of the American people are just, reasonable and good people who want to do what's right. We just go about it differently. Because we're different. It's sort of how we were made, right?I'm not asking you to agree with me, just to respect that I, as a Mormon and a Democrat, feel and think differently on some issues and respectfully ask you to understand that. There is a reason that our political system, which I believe to be divinely inspired, allows for two or more parties. There is more than one way to look at any problem. None are necessarily "more right" than the other. They're different. As I'm sure you know, the truth most often lies somewhere in-between two diametrically opposed poles. Vilifying the opposition or making them out to be a bunch of crazy people is short-sighted and damaging to our country and our cause.Please know that I love you as a sister in Christ and wish you well.