Thursday, November 06, 2008

Waxing Political

People have been wondering why I wrote the last post. It's because I'm more than "marginally appreciative" that Obama won but I'm so used to repressing all political thought that writing a political post was somewhat difficult for me.

So my last post ended up being not very politically charged at all.

I'm one of those un-American Americans. I voted for Obama and I'm happy that he won.

I grew up in Canada, as I've mentioned before and I thought for my whole life that I was more of a Republican. And then I moved to Utah and learned that the Republican ideology didn't fit well into my own. I became a misfit of sorts, doomed to suffer through morbidly "patriotic" testimony meetings on 4th of July weekends and never opening up my mouth, politically, for fear of being painted an unpatriot or having my soul condemned by some well-meaning Republican.

I've felt relatively unfree since moving to the States. Granted, a lot of that is probably because I was a democrat living in a republican state. Part of it has to do with my upbringing. I grew up in a social democracy, in a mixed economy, and I believe there's nothing wrong with that. Part of it may even have to do with the current administration and its several "big brother" initiatives.

At any rate I've most often held my mouth shut, but I kind of feel like I want to explain a bit about how I feel.

I am pro-Palestinian. But I'm not anti-Israel: I don't understand why Israel was formed. It was Palestine. People lived there; they were wronged when Israel was formed. We had no right. But what's done is done and Israel now exsists. There are people in Israel who were born in Israel and it would be wrong to just kick them out and give the land back to Palestine. So now the topic is a little more confusing than simply whether or not you are for or against Israel. I don't believe that forming Israel as a country constitues the "gathering of Israel" because I thought that was done through missionary work. Not through oppressing other people. And I don't know why the United States whole-heartedly supports Isreal through almost anything. I think there needs to be more fair discussion about the rights of Palestinians in Israel.

Arabs are semites: I've always found the whole anti-semitic thing a little funny when used against Arabs since Arabs are semites. I realize that anti-semitism technically only refers to Jews, but I personally think we should expand the definition to include Arabs as well since they are being persecuted today. That way Arabs against Jews are anti-semitic and Jews against Arabs are anti-semitic and non-semites against either Jews or Arabs are anti-semietic, so basically everyone winds up being anti-semitic. I realize the ADL isn't exactly on my side here. But maybe they should be because they claim to want justice and fair treatment for all.

Arabs aren't terrorists: They just aren't. I personally have never met one Arab who has been anti-America, although I've met many Americans that are anti-Arab, and I've met a lot of both Americans and Arabs. Islam really is a religion of peace; it's the few radical extremists that give Muslims a bad rap. I've never been threatened because I'm Christian. I don't have to wear a veil. And I believe that the Qur'an was an inspired book.

Maybe we should talk to Iran: For years America has been all talk and no ears. We've been impossible to work with, taking a "my way or the highway" approach to anyone we disagreed with, only to our own demise. If we happen to disagree with someone we seem to, in recent years, either bomb them or put sanctions on them. Heaven forbid we actually talk to them and work out an agreement.

Socialism is not a dirty word -or- the cold war is over, people: Yes, I've read Ezra Taft Benson's words. And other prophet's words as well. Still, I think that the definition of "socialism" has changed since the writings of Karl Marx and since Ezra Taft Benson's speech in 1977. And I must say that I kind of agree with Harry Reid....and he wasn't berated by leaders of the church or excommunicated or anything, so I think that's probably alright.

I think that socialism is not the same thing as Soviet communism. We are a government of the people, by the people, for the people, after all and I believe that I should have a say in the economy. We aren't going to become the USSA just because we get socialized medicine. I've lived in more than one socialized country and they aren't all bad.

I'm against gay marriage: And I would just like to point out that California, a democratic state, voted to pass the ban on gay marriage. So obviously not all democrats are "bad." I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that we need to be working harder to preserve families. I think that Obama will help do some good in this area. I like that he is encouraging America to switch off the TV and actually spend time with their families--if only for doing homewok.

I'm pro-life: Both abortion and euthanasia are tricky topics. As a general rule I'm against both, although there are a lot of grey areas. I simply think that people should endure to the end of whatever trials are handed out to them. I think passive euthanasia is fine since that still leaves the life/death decision up to Heavenly Father, but active euthanasia is not alright. I also disagree with doctor-assisted suicide.

I kind of want to live in Star Trek: Trust me, six months ago I didn't ever think I'd be a "Trekie" on any level. But now I guess I kind of am. I like that people can speak whatever language they want and everything done is for the common good of the whole. I think having Spanish and Chinese and whatever else on signs is perfectly alright with me. I don't care if not everyone speaks English, even in America. I think that we, as Americans, should be seeking to learn other languages rather than insisting that everyone speak English. Sure, learning English is great, but other languages are wonderful, too.

So, anyway, that's kind of my political views in a nutshell. Obviously it's not my opinion on every topic out there and I'm not the greatest source for political musings. I didn't major in political science...but chances are, neither did you.

I do wish, though, that we had more "active" parties in America that could actually voice their opinions and have it be heard; that actually had a chance at getting any votes in an election; that wasn't absolutely laughable. I've never heard much about any other parties and I doubt that any party out there will ever win the popular vote.

But maybe I'll start my own party. Anyone want to join?


  1. I was touched by your report of suffering in church with respect to "patriotism". Being loyal to one's country is one thing and a good thing, but thinking your country is somehow above others and better than others can be pride which goes beyond patriotism towards nationalism. And it gets worse when "better than" translates into "it's okay to make fun of" which leads to "it's okay to oppress".

    In church we often talk about the wicked being burned, but Malachi 4:1 clearly puts the proud first, along with the wicked (a separate group?). See also 3 Nephi 16:10, excerpted, "...lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth."

    I think there is room to be careful and compassionate when considering others not of our country, beliefs, ethnicity, etc.

  2. Yay for people with brains!! Someone pointed out to me recently that if Satan were a republican and ran on a pro-life ticket, conservative Christians and Mormons would vote for him, without paying attention to what they were doing...
    I assumed you probably were more than marginally appreciative that Obama got elected, but I didn't want to put my foot in my mouth by saying anything stronger! lol.

  3. Thank you Nancy! I love what you had to say.

  4. I wish I had known that we had so much in common when we lived in the same ward - or even the same country! We could have weathered the democrat vs. republican storms together :)

  5. @ Heidi--Wow, I laughed a little hard a this.

    @ Tamsin--I, too, have regretted that we didn't get to know each other better...from the minute I found out we had the same shower curtain. One day we'll hang out. I don't know when. I don't know where. But one day. :)

  6. Nancy, I really appreciate your blog and your being open. I think a lot of people share youf same thoughts but get caught up in the republican /democrat stuff. If we would just think for ourselves we, as mormons, or anyone wouldn't feel so bad at our decisions we make.
    I really like that you came from another country and wasn't raised in this craziness so that you could honestly form an opinion of your own.
    Good job!!
    (I hope I make sense)

  7. I don't play the political scene. I try to avoid it. Perhaps because I live with my VERY republic in-laws, who think obama is a communist.

    I am actually a bit happy as well that he's going to be president, I think we need it.

    thanks for writing this, I liked reading it.

  8. I don't know why you are brave, you just are. Like to Mrs. Gelbord, "You're mean." How many little girls would stare their teacher in the face and say that? I am too timid to say my opinion all too often, and i appreciate your bravery.

  9. Was that last one directed at me? I promise I'm not one of those "English-only" freaks. It just sometimes hurts my eyes sifting through all the Spanish to get at the English.

  10. Amen, sister. Now I can tease you about being a Trekkie! Bwah hah hah. Oh, and I agree about the political stance too. And I hate when people generalize...and that seems to happen a lot here.

  11. Also, you have GOT to read The Israel Lobby. I reviewed it on my blog there any way you can get your hands on a copy in Cairo? The cover is a little bit too descript - it's basically an Israeli flag. So maybe not.

  12. Sweetie you are an independent not a democrat :) If people really wrote down their core beliefs the way you just did I think most people would realize they were independents as well.

  13. @Bridget--Not directed at you, no. But you did remind me that it really is an issue. It was more directed at Oregon--who thankfully did not pass that crazy 2-year limitation on bilingual education.

    @Crystal--you're probably right. I am more of an independent. I wish that more people would be independent, too. I feel that too many people just blindly follow and vote "the party," as Heidi said, without actually forming their own opinion.

  14. I heart you Nancy. Your blog is great and you definitely shouldn't leave out the political stuff. I have recently discovered that I am an independent and I come from an independent family. (I always thought I was a Republican because that's what all good Mormons are.) I wish I knew a way to encourage more open-mindedness among church members.

  15. Yes, Bridget, I'm planning on reading it. :) It's one of Andrew's future textbooks, so I know for sure you can get it at the AUC bookstore. I'm note sure it can be found anywhere else though!

    And thanks, Naomi!

  16. Thank you for writing this post. I agree with you 100% on everything. I'm being for real.I've kept my mouth shut for a long time about what I believed because I fear of being left out (especially at church). In the last couple of weeks I've had enough and became more outspoken and I feel so much better. I started telling myself there is no need to be ashamed in being different and because someone doesn't want to be your friend because you think differently, then you really don't need them in your life.

  17. Thanks, Layla! I'm glad you agree with me, and I would like to agree with you that we can disagree with people and still get along.

    I recently received an email from a friend about supporting Prop. 8, which I do. Later she sent an apology email (apparently she offended some people by inviting them to support Prop. 8). She wrote in her apology email, "Please delete the email, and I will take you off my list of friends. I meant to send it only to my friends and family."

    I think it is sad that she feels the need to not remain friends with those who disagreed with her.

    And I just want anyone who happened to disagree with anything I said to know that we can still be friends. We were friends before you knew my opinions. We can still be friends now :)

  18. Josie and I just finished reading the second book by Randa Abdel-Fattah, an Egyptian-Palestinian lawyer who lives in Australia. Did you read her first book, "Does my head look big in this" Nancy? Her second book is "Ten things I hate about me" and I recommend it--she deals with just the kinds of issues that you and Layla have commented on here.

  19. Myrna-I'm going to buy those two books today. Thanks for the suggestions. I think it is really sad that people feel that we all need to be molded the same and if any one is different it's quite taboo. I'm glad I was taught not to think like that. It's also nice to have a family member like Nancy who thinks pretty much like me to fall back to.

  20. Bummer. AUC library doesn't have those books, mom. I'll have to wait to read them. I meant to read "Does my head look big in this" before I left but I didn't get around to list of books to read is too long :)