I won't even go into the details of how or what or why I disagree with Paul Ryan (and not just in one area - but in so many many ways.) I don't feel the need to; just do a google search on "Why Paul Ryan is Wrong" and you'll see an explosion of articles and links describing the problems with this congressman.
This is what I don't get: why Representative Paul Ryan? I don't understand how the formerly moderate Governor of Massachusetts could pick such an extremely right (meaning wrong) conservative as his running mate. Maybe I really bought into the Etch-a-Sketch comment. I somehow believed that Mitt Romney would right his boat into the political center after he won the Republican nomination. There is an oft-stated idea that the Romney of yesteryear (Governor of Massachusetts) would not have voted for the Romney we see now running for president - and the VP Ryan pick really bears that out. So I do apologize for my naiveté on this one. It's not like I would have voted for Romney regardless of who he picked, but I did find myself caught off guard by his Vice President choice.
In fact, a friend of mine has been pranking me with random text messages these past two weeks proclaiming fake Romney VP picks; the first one said, "Romney picks Sarah Palin as his VP!" I paused for a moment, and then realized it was a joke. The second one even came with a fake abcnews.go.com link: "Romney picks LDS President Thomas S. Monson as VP." I knew that was false - but I clicked on the link anyway just to make sure. So when I got his latest text message on Friday night, I figured "Ryan selected as VP" was leaning towards the ridiculous just like the previous two texts. Alas, this is not the case.
But still I can't help mulling it over in my head: what is Romney hoping to accomplish by picking Paul Ryan? Is he not convinced that he has the conservative vote in the bag? Well, maybe this is Mitt Romney's vice (if we can call it that): his willingness to do anything and everything to please the conservative wing of his party. Because if there is some middle ground of voters still to be won over - or the undecided - (is that another word for people who don't pay attention to politics until the week before the election?) - how does Ryan help them choose Romney? Clearly Romney really likes the guy - and maybe he'll just adopt Ryan's fiscal plans as his own since that would be easier than coming up with one - (or maybe he'll just adopt Ryan as another one of his sons, since he kind of looks like them anyway.) Regardless, I don't get how Ryan's politics will do anything more than alienate a large majority of the electorate.
Maybe I'm wrong. But my bet (and my vote) is on Obama for 2012. It feels good to be on the right side of history on this one (again.)
Seeing that we at Mormons for Obama are not without sin, I don't want to be the first to cast a stone at another; (so can somebody else please do it for me, and then I will surreptitiously cast the second stone?) And then there's that thing about a glass house; (is that even biblical?) Well, Buzzfeed caught wind of this and put it out there - (the media is running out of Mormon stories to run): some Romney Mormons have co-opted the "Choose the Right" slogan and slapped it underneath the Romney logo to drum up Mormon fervor for the Mormon candidate. (As if they needed to do that.) Click on this link for the Buzzfeed article.
Clearly, we have riffed the "I'm a Mormon" campaign with our bumper stickers - and so legally, I can't find fault with these people too much, except to ponder, "why didn't we think of making buttons?" Although Buzzfeed does make a good point: Isn't Romney trying to distance himself from the religion discussion, and isn't this unhelpful in that regard?
Well, regardless of their intent, I feel I should respond in this way: instead of being upset because my childhood CTR ring (that would invariably leave a rusty-brown line around my finger not unlike the ring circling the inside of a dirty commode,) has now been connected with a political candidate who just might begin spewing white oil any day now, I have produced my own version of their bumper sticker... and then all associations with happy memories of my youth are washed away. And please, no need to ask! Feel free to use this graphic in all your Romney campaigning this fall:
We all know Mitt Romney is the Mormon in this year’s presidential race. Therefore, we ought to be safe in assuming that Book of Mormon teachings more closely align with his views than those of President Obama.
Alas, if we made that assumption, we’d be wrong.
Let’s examine what the book says and where the candidates stand.
When it comes to the Book of Mormon’s central message—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Redeemer of the world—Obama, a member of the United Church of Christ, and Romney, who belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, agree.
On other key topics, however, they part ways.
For example, the book prominently features wars and other conflicts. The subject occupies around 170 of the book’s 531 pages. Prophets often admonish Book of Mormon peoples never to “go up” to war against their enemies. Instead, they must wait until their foes “come down” to their land. In other words, they may fight defensive wars but must never be aggressors. As LDS scholar Hugh Nibley wrote, righteous principles “rendered aggressive warfare impossible and preventive warfare utterly unthinkable.”
In the Iraq War, we saw the United States “go up” to attack a nation that hadn’t attacked us. Supporters of the war deemed it preventive or preemptive. Romney strongly supported the war, favored increased U.S. troop levels as it dragged on and criticized Obama’s decision to end it. Obama, on the other hand, opposed the war from the start. As president, he terminated U.S. troop involvement in December 2011.
The Book of Mormon also declares that righteous nations must treat prisoners of war humanely. In Alma 62:27-29, prisoners not only were freed, they were given land and were welcomed into the society. On another occasion, prisoners were allowed to depart promptly in peace after a bloody battle (Hel. 1:33). Centuries later, however, after both sides had rejected God, they abused and tortured their prisoners (Moroni 9:7-10).
In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the war on terror, U.S. soldiers and our agents have engaged in a variety of abuses and torture of prisoners, including waterboarding. Among the most infamous sites of prisoner abuse has been Guantanamo.
Romney declines to renounce waterboarding, and his aides have said that he does not view it as torture. His support of “enhanced interrogation techniques” has drawn strong criticism from 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Romney also has said, “Some people say we should close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.”
Shortly after taking office, President Obama issued an executive order halting harsh interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. He has sought to close Guantanamo but has faced stiff resistance from Congress.
In terms of military spending, Nibley assures us that when the Nephites were righteous, their “military preparations were defensive—minimal—with God acting as their radar and warning system.” Rather than “minimal” defense spending, Romney wants to restore American power and has pledged to boost the military budget by close to $2 trillion over the next 10 years, adding 100,000 soldiers. (U.S. military spending is by far the world’s largest.) Obama favors significant cuts to the military budget.
Clearly, it is Obama, not Romney, who heeds the counsel of Book of Mormon prophets on war. His actions prove that he regards Christ as the Prince of Peace rather than the Prince of Preemptive War.
Another yardstick measuring the uprightness of Book of Mormon peoples is how they treat the poor.
During the longest peaceful era in Book of Mormon history, the people established economic equality—“they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor” (4 Nephi 1:3). Earlier, a prophet rebuked those who neglected the poor and who allowed great disparities to develop between the haves and the have-nots (Alma 4:11-13). The practice of “oppressing” wage earners was condemned (3 Nephi 24:5).
The Book of Mormon stresses equity. In Mosiah 18:27 we read that those with high incomes should give “more abundantly” and that for those with little, “little should be required” and “to him that had not should be given.” King Benjamin reminds his people that he has only sought to serve them “and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you.” Prophets denounced taxation that enriched the wealthy and those in power while burdening everyone else (Mosiah 11:3-6; Ether 10:5,6).
Romney deserves credit for leadership at Bain Capital that rescued some companies that might otherwise have gone out of business. But his actions widened the gap between the haves and have-nots, with people like himself and others at the top reaping multiple millions in income while many at the bottom lost jobs and saw jobs shipped overseas where it is legal to oppress wage earners by paying them below minimum U.S. wages. Romney favored a minimum-wage hike early in 2012 but then reversed his position. His proposed boost in the military budget would come at the expense of social programs that aid the needy. President Obama has supported hikes in the minimum wage and is often called a socialist for supporting programs that help lower-income and unemployed Americans.
Although both candidates can be viewed as wealthy, Romney’s 2010 tax forms, the latest he has released, show income of $21.7 million, 13 times greater than Obama’s $1.7 million. But Romney paid federal taxes of only 13.9 percent while Obama’s federal tax rate was 26 percent. In order to reduce the gap between the haves and have-nots and help cut the deficit, Obama favors allowing the tax cut for people making more than $250,000 annually to expire. Romney would extend the tax cut for the wealthy, making it easier for high-income Americans to continue paying lower overall rates than those of modest income.
Another prominent Book of Mormon message is to beware of pride while remembering “your own nothingness . . . and humble yourselves, even in the depths of humility” (Mosiah 4:11). Prophets rebuke those who feel they deserve their riches and who claim “every man prospered according to his genius” (Alma 30:17). Part of this pride among the Nephites also manifested itself in feelings of national superiority and boastfulness after military victories.
In his 2010 book “No Apology,” Romney lays out the case for American greatness. He vows to “never again apologize for America.” He has reminded critics of his income that America's capitalistic system allows some to accumulate great wealth (“I’ve been extraordinarily successful”) and that those who are less successful should avoid “the politics of envy.” President Obama has apologized for American mistakes that have offended other countries, such as the burning of a Koran at a U.S. military base. He has stated that no one achieves success alone but instead receives help every step of the way.
On immigration, the Book of Mormon offers a limited “open door” policy. If people are willing to be good citizens, the attitude is “y’all come.” For example, when believers among the Zoramites found themselves expelled from their country, they entered the land of Jershon. The people of Jershon, being righteous, did not say, “You don’t have proper papers, so self-deport yourselves back to where you came from.” Instead, Jershon “did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did nourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance” (Alma 35:9).
Mitt Romney coined the phrase “self-deport” in saying those who lack citizenship papers should leave the country. He has opposed the DREAM Act, which provides a pathway to citizenship for those brought to the United States as children. He also supports making English the country’s official language and has said Arizona and other states should be allowed to enact their own immigration laws. Obama halted deportation of young undocumented immigrants in June 2012 and supports the DREAM Act. He also directed the Justice Department to pursue its successful challenge of Arizona’s “show me your papers” anti-immigration law.
With Mitt Romney’s positions so often contrary to the Book of Mormon, what shall we say to Mormons who support him? Perhaps a one-word answer is best. It’s a word that repeatedly pops up in the Book of Mormon: Repent!
Post by Joseph M -
Mitt Romney and Joe Biden both took turns politicking in front of the NAACP's annual convention, and Romney's big booing was widely played on cable news networks and across the internet. But what you haven't heard is that Vice President Joe Biden was also booed - for telling the crowd he would be closing his speech. Yes, Biden received a much friendlier reception. Just watch a few minutes of each speech, and listen to sounds of the crowd; when Romney is speaking you can almost count out the 5% of African Americans that will be voting for him in November. Even the music greeting the two speakers is in complete contrast: Biden's intro sounds like the start of a party, while Romney's "God Bless America" intro sounds like it's being played by an organ at a funeral.
But putting all of that aside, I am must applaud Romney for attending the convention (while George W. turned down invitations repeatedly.) However, he made a misstep or two, starting with one of his opening lines: "I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of American African American families, you would vote for me for president."
Firstly, I listened to this line repeatedly: was his "American African American" line a verbal stumble or was Romney just trying to differentiate African Americans from Canadian African Americans? Secondly, I find it a bit preposterous that Romney would claim to know (in his heart of all places) what is really best for the African American community. He proved that he does have a handle on all the negative statistics that circle and stereotype African Americans when he said, "the unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, and median family wealth are all worse for the black community." But I am fairly certain that he doesn't have some magic trick to solve these issues - if previous Republican administrations didn't make significant inroads here, why should anyone expect that Romney would or can?
[caption id="attachment_1295" align="alignright" width="300"] George Romney hugs son Mitt, 14, and wife, Lenore, at a Detroit news conference on Feb. 10, 1962, after announcing he would seek the Republican nomination to be Michigan's governor.[/caption]
That said, the story of Mitt Romney's father, Michigan Governor George Romney, is an interesting one. He spoke out in favor of civil-rights and pushed for reforms to counter discrimination in housing. Due to this, he faced opposition from leaders in his own party and from angered whites in his state. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has stayed away from discussing race or even his father's civil-rights legacy. According to Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times, "Romney has campaigned over the past year in front of predominately white audiences," and he is "a far more conflict-averse candidate than his father." And apparently, discussing his father's legacy could cause conflict with the conservative base.
But clearly the black vote is not what Romney is after, considering that even the African American Mormon vote seems out of reach; (see this article in the New York Times.) Some theorize that Romney has even given up on winning the Latino vote, and that his outreach efforts to Latino Americans can be summed up by his bungled Spanish language campaign ads; even his new ad featuring his Spanish-speaking-missionary son Craig (the curly-headed one, in case you're keeping track) is only being played in limited markets - with just $57,000 total air time bought, (and as of this writing, the dang video won't even play on Romney's website!) Governor Romney is aware that his chances at winning over this group is limited, and as Eric R pointed out, his stance on Latino immigration is at odds with the official position of the LDS Church. So that just leaves the white vote - and this is where Romney really has his greatest opportunity.
In 2008, 43% of white voters cast their ballot for Obama, while 55% voted for McCain. We might expect similar numbers in 2012, although some (including Obama himself) express concern that the President may have lost his luster. With continued unemployment issues, his "gray hair", and "Republican obstructionists" to Obama's brand of change, these white voters may be shedding their white guilt and their enthusiasm for President's message of hope; this is also evident among the young white vote, and this could result in many of these youths not turning out to the polls. Additionally, white blue-collar men have decreased from 34% to 28% in their support for the president.
So with these trends among white voters continuing, can Romney expect a win in November? Some have noted that although whites are still the dominant race in America, Latinos are now at 16%, followed by African Americans at 13% and Asian Americans at 5%. By some estimates, the percentage of people of color in the USA will overtake whites by 2050 - (minority births have already overtaken white births in the US.) And this is where Obama's reelection will ultimately be found. The minority electorate has grown in the past four years, and voter suppression aside, Obama may not need those extra white votes. So even if Obama experiences some loss of love among white voters, will that necessarily equal more votes for Romney? Probably not. It probably means more people staying home on election day on both sides of the political spectrum.
A year ago, The National Journal did a whole bunch of calculations that looked at Obama's 2012 reelection chances in light of race and the nation's changing demographics. The article is long, cumbersome, and impossible to digest if you aren't being tested on it for your American Heritage final exam, but this here is a pretty good summary paragraph:
"So even if Obama’s support slips among whites, Republicans will face a tough uphill climb if they cannot capture more minority votes. Carlos Curbelo, a Miami-based GOP consultant, asserts that Republicans cannot win if they allow Obama to keep two-thirds of the Latino vote he attracted in 2008. The first step toward turning some of that support, he contends, is aggressively pursuing those voters with Spanish-language advertising. 'Some Republicans say, ‘We do not want to advertise in Spanish because it sends the wrong message,’' he says. 'We need to get to them, no matter what channel they are watching, or magazine they are reading.' And once Republicans have Hispanics’ attention, Curbelo insists, they must make the case that Obama abandoned his 2008 promise to emphasize comprehensive immigration reform. 'There is a gaping hole in the president’s campaign,' he argues."
At this point, President Obama is reaching out to these groups and plugging this "gaping hole", as we saw recently with his announcement that the US will no longer seek to deport undocumented immigrants who came to America as children. So as we march onward to November, we may find that ultimately, the white vote might not be so great after all.
(This post by Laura was originally published on 2.9.2012. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, we are reposting it today.)
I was at the National Hispanic Medical Society conference in Washington DC when the House agreed to the Senate's amendment of the Affordable Care Act, on March 23, 2010. The energy and excitement was electrifying! My feelings that day are the same today--the Affordable Care Act is monumental and critical for our country. Indeed, it is one of the primary reasons why I support Obama wholeheartedly.
My favorite facts about the Affordable Care Act:
- Expands health care to 32 MILLION Americans
- Insurance companies are prevented from dropping sick people
- Insurance companies cannot deny children coverage if they have a pre-existing condition
- No lifetime caps on coverage
- Cost: $940bn over 10 years; but it would reduce deficit by $143bn by tackling fraud, abuse, and waste
- Expands women's health preventative coverage, including services such as well-woman visits, mammograms, domestic violence screening, screening for STIs, and access to birth control without charge
Of the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama said "A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, 'Huh. It works. It makes sense.'"
One of the most controversial aspects of the Affordable Care Act is this concept of the "individual mandate" or requiring people to have insurance. The individual mandate is really important because it reduces the overall costs of health care for everyone. But don't take my word for it. Heck, (not h-e-ll, we are mormons after all) don't take Barack Obama's word for it!
"If you don't want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill, because under federal law if someone doesn't have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care. So we said, no more, no more free riders. We are insisting on personal responsibility. Either get the insurance or help pay for your care."
Mitt Romney, defending the 2006 Massachusetts Health Reform in a debate with Rick Santorum, Jacksonville, Florida, 1/26/12
YES! More cowbell. At a time when partisan politics have harshly criticized the 2010 US health care reform, I long to hear Mitt Romney defend the Massachusetts Health Reform! I believe there are far more important reasons for health reform (like, uhh, helping people), but it is soooo refreshing to hear it defended in 'Republican speak'.
I'm not the only one who feels good about this. Of Romney's words, Prof. John McDonough from Harvard School of Public Health said, "Romney has given in this entire presidential campaign last evening what I believe is the most effective and persuasive rationale and defense of the individual mandate."
A recent study reports that Taxachusetts (as my in-laws so lovingly call it) is doing very well after the 2006 health initiative. Access to health care remains high, emergency room visits are down, and there has been some improvements in health outcomes.
"I gotta fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!"
President Barack Obama, you gained my (second) vote on March 23, 2010. And I personally thank you for on behalf of all 32 million Americans who will now have access to health care!
Post by Doctor LauraClubFancy, your health care correspondent-
2. Unlike Elder Bednar, Roberts knows how to smile with his eyes.
3. In 1998, he petitioned the Supreme Court in behalf of several rerun television series - and these were amazing T.V. shows such as Hart to Hart, T.J. Hooker, and Who's the Boss?
4. Roberts has been the focus of a lot of crazy conservative criticism: he was called "the worst part of the Bush legacy," and someone hacked his Wikipedia page to declare him "the 17th Chief Traitor." Additionally, Glenn (nobody misses you) Beck is selling T-shirts calling him a coward. But despite all this, Roberts has kept good humor about him. In explaining that he would be out of the country in Malta for two weeks teaching a class, he said, "Malta, as you know, is an impregnable island fortress. It seemed like a good idea."
5. He is way more attractive than Ginsberg... and... well, Ginsberg.
6. His ruling proved a little too confusing for those at FOX News and CNN - (he didn't accept the individual mandate based on the commerce argument, but accepted it as a tax) - and these esteemed news organizations reported that the individual mandate was ruled unconstitutional before realizing they'd got it wrong. FOX (see below) condescended to look to SCOTUSblog.com to get their information, since their own correspondents couldn't process what they were reading. I love it.
7. Now that Healthcare Reform is a reality, Rush Limbaugh will leave the country! (He said he'd go to Costa Rica... which, uh... has socialized medicine.)
8. Justice Roberts has given Romney the phrase that pays: the healthcare law is a tax! Except this maybe a hard argument for Romney - because if Obama is raising taxes on Americans by enacting healthcare reform, then what did Romney do back in Massachusetts with virtually the same plan?
9. Roberts' swing vote decision restores some faith in the Supreme Court; maybe every decision isn't decided by political affiliation or expedience?
10. His decision validated President Obama's first term in office and cleared the way for the expansion of healthcare - a hope and dream of mine for a long time now.
Post by Joseph M-
I was talking to a friend a few months back, before Romney had the Republican nomination locked up, and he relayed a thought he'd had while listening to Romney harshly criticize President Obama during a campaign stop. He thought to himself, "I hope President Obama doesn't think that all us Mormons are like this..."
I sometimes wonder this myself. Does President Obama somehow think that Romney is representative of Mormons in America? Or even more specifically: do the American voters think that Romney is somehow representative of Mormons? I swear my jokes are better than his, and I would never put a dog on top of my car for a cross-country trip. Additionally, I have a job.
But in the end, maybe we are okay, and maybe we won't be mistaken for a Mitt-Romney-Mormon. Let me explain: we all know that Mormons can identify other Mormons by looking at their countenance. I was reminded of this again today while studying Alma chapter 5 in Sunday School. Our teacher told a story of how a cashier at a grocery store asked her if she was a member of the Church. "Yes," was her answer, to which the cashier explained, "I could tell because of your countenance." (Our Sunday School teacher also explained that this happened at Smith's in Provo, to which I thought, "uh... everyone in Provo is Mormon; this makes it not even a lucky guess, but a statistical certainty.")
That said, even I have seen this countenance principle in action: I was with a friend at a gas station just east of the Cascade Mountain Range, and she approached a man and a woman pumping gas next to us and boldly asked, "are you LDS?" (Who does that???)
"Yes - we are," came the response.
"I thought so! You just had this glow about you!" I am not lying. This really did happen - and a study exists that backs it up. Here is a link to it, and here is a blog post about the study. Mormons can tell other Mormons just by looking at their faces. We have a glow, a countenance, a halo rather than horns. We have received his image thereupon, and this isn't just Mormon myth-making or Sunday School speculation. This is scientific statistical fact (complete with t-tests, r-tests, x-factors, or whatever... I didn't do too well in that class.) I'm not certain what makes one look Mormon, but this must be a good thing, right? (I mean, it is definitely better than those pictures of meth-users in Oregon; I mean, everyone can tell what they are by their pictures as well.) So ultimately, Mormons do have a glow that shines independent of whatever Governor Romney may do to our image. However, this whole thing is somewhat ironic considering the "I'm a Mormon" campaign was designed at least in part to show that Mormons look just like everyone else.
Well, this complicated puzzle of facial characteristics doesn't end there. Studies also show that Republicans and Democrats have a certain distinguishing characteristics also, and that they're able to be differentiated in photo line-ups. Apparently, Republicans seem powerful, and Democrats appear more warm. Here is the link to a description of the study. But this really isn't too surprising; think of Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachman - nothing about them denotes warmth, and Newt's greasy forehead cannot be mistaken for a "glow."
But let's not stop there, for all these studies prompt the inevitable follow-up question: if Mormons are identifiable by their countenances and Democrats appear warm, what does that say about a Mormon Democrat? I've been thinking about this, and clearly we must really have an amazing luster. I don't know if it's on par with the likes of the transfigured Moses, but maybe Edward from Twilight as he's standing shirtless in the sun? Just watch the people pull out their sunglasses as you walk by... and when they tell you that they sense something is different about you, or that they are drawn to you somehow, you can explain that this is because you're a Mormon and because you're voting for Obama.
Just think of Harry Reid - the supreme example of Liberal Mormondom - (I have his action figure on my desk at work) - and tell me if he doesn't have a glow like a gleaming lighthouse? He fights the good fight, shines like a sunbeam, and literally comes from Searchlight, Nevada. I know what the Primary Hymn instructs, (Trying to be Like Jesus,) but in case that is too high of a bar for me right now, I've decided that at the very least I am trying to be like Harry... and we'll call it good at that.
Guest post by JBS -
When Obama announced his support for gay marriage, the conservative talk shows accused him of being political - they said that he only supported gay marriage because it would help him win votes in the election.
And maybe this is true? According to a Huffington Post article, Obama expressed support for gay marriage back in 1996. (He was for it before he was against it, and now he's for it again.) As Joseph M. pointed out in his post, The Theory of Evolution, Obama said that he was now supporting same-sex marriage because his position has evolved. But I disagree on this point - it seems that Obama is being disingenuous when saying this. It seems like he has supported gay marriage all along, but in 2008, he said he only supported civil unions because gay marriage was considered unpopular. Now as the climate changes, is it possible that Obama's support of gay marriage is because popular opinion is shifting? Even Jon Stewart asked the question, "What happened?" and then proceeded to offer his own answer: "He became a politician."
But in this election, Obama is not usually associated with the flip-flop. That usually is Mitt Romney. So what about Governor Romney? While his stance on gay marriage has been unchanging, his position on gay rights has seemed to shift overtime. When Romney ran in Massachusetts for the Senate seat against Ted Kennedy, he did an interview with The Bay, a gay newspaper, and expressed support for gay rights. Now in 2012, while running for president, he is trying to stay quiet on the subject.
However, because of Obama's recent announcement of support and the allegations that Romney participated in gay-bashing as a young man, the subject keeps coming up, and Romney is forced into answering questions about his position. Check out this website for a review of Romney's positions over-time. Interestingly, back in Bush's 2004 reelection campaign, the gay marriage issue seemed to nail the coffin shut for the Democrats - although after the election was over, Bush never said anything about the marriage amendment to the constitution again. But now, only eight years later, support for traditional marriage doesn't seem to be a winning issue for Republicans. (And we know that Romney doesn't take a pro-position on any issue that isn't "winning.") However, one cannot be certain that gay marriage is a winning issue for Obama either. If this was so cut and dry, Obama might have come out in support of gay marriage sooner - before he was pushed into it by Biden's preemptive statement of support.
Well, where does that leave me? I support Obama because I feel like he is heading in the right direction on all major issues. I believe he is heading in the right direction on gay marriage as well, regardless if he was for it, then against it, then for it again. The general direction of his campaign is where I would like to see our country go. I know that this may be a difficult issue for some Mormons, but ultimately, gay marriage will be decided by the states. Also, with all the flip-flopping and federal inaction on this issue, why should gay marriage ever majorly factor into someone's vote for president? Additionally, when looking at the big picture of Obama's last four years as a whole, he has consistently provided excellent leadership and has brought dignity and integrity to his office. For this reason, he gets my vote in 2012.
Romney has fought hard to keep the campaign about the issues (or issue in his case: the economy,) and he's fighting again; he quickly slammed attempts by a Super PAC to produce an anti-Obama ad that focused on racially charged comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright - see Yahoo News story.
Romney stated, "I want to make it very clear, I repudiate that effort. I think it's the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign. I hope that our campaigns can respectively be about the futures and about issues and about a vision for America."
Good for Romney, and good for all of us. The last thing we need is for the Mormon Republican nominee to call for open season on the shooting range of religious affiliation. Obama is also trying to stick to the issue(s) by making coordinated attacks against Romney's record as a "job creator" at Bain Capital. But regardless, social issues have been creeping around the edges of this campaign - like President Obama's admission of support for marriage equality last week (more on that in a later post,) or during the divisive campaign to choose a Republican nominee. However, even though Romney and Obama are attempting to steer the campaign away from these so-called social issues, enquiring minds still want to know that their Presidential candidate is just like them in every way possible (which is why we only have two viable political parties in the USA?) They want to know that their president supports/doesn't support abortion, is against/for marriage equality, loves/hates poor people, embodies righteousness/evil.
The two-party system has always had its drawbacks. How can you fit 350 million Americans under two umbrellas of political belief when their cultural, spiritual, and religious perspectives literally fill the whole world? (And also when half of them don't even vote?) This must be where the so-called "independents" come into play. Who are these people anyway? (I have yet to meet one... although I do have faith that they exist.)
But where does all of this leave us Mormons? With our belief in the reality of righteousness and sin, the existence of God and Satan, and polarity of good and evil, it might make sense to some Latter-day Saints that the Democratic and Republican parties would fit into the same dichotomous structure. And this leaves very little room in the middle for fence-sitting (or even for those of us that still insist on sitting on the back row of Elder's Quorum so we can play Draw Something on our smart phones.)
2 Nephi 2:15 explains that this dichotomy has existed since the beginning: After (the Lord) created our first parents...it must needs be that there is an opposition: even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. But while we believe that there is opposition in all things, at what point does this leave the realm of individual practice and personal decision and leap into the world of political affiliation as well?
This might be confusing for some LDS when it comes to choosing a political party or candidate, (i.e., Republicans are pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and advocate self-reliance, so they must be righteous. Democrats promote abortions, don't let children pray in school, and like to elect Muslims for president, so they must be Satan.) But forcing the two political parties into a good vs. evil scenario seems to presuppose that God Himself is at the helm of one of these (Republican?) political parties. It ignores the fact that when we vote, we are participating in an imperfect, earth-bound, and very American political system.
We received a comment on the website that basically asked the question, how could a Mormon support Democrats or Obama when their platform supports abortion? This question speaks to the simplistic reasoning that some people struggle with and that is encouraged by the two-party system. Robert Fantina wrote a well-nuanced response on MormonsforObama.org to explain that all is not so simple:
The Democratic platform does support abortion, but the Republicans do nothing to prevent abortions. They will not countenance sex education, and are now making it more difficult for women to obtain contraceptives. And they appear not to care at all about babies once they are born: they will do everything possible to deprive them of health care, Head Start programs, etc...When (George W.) Bush was president, he stopped funding for Marie Slopes International (I think that’s the name of the organization), because they provided family planning, although not abortion, services. MSI estimated that, due to this funding cut, approximately 200,000 women in their serving area who didn’t want to get pregnant, would, and of those, approximately 60,000 would have abortions. So how was he a pro-life president?
Thanks to Robert for the comment and also for the link to his article on Pacific Free Press: What Makes a Romney Win Scary? (Hint: It Ain't Religion)
In short, the issues in this 2012 election are much more complex and nuanced than the few minutes of time it will take to fill out a mail-in ballot would leave one to believe. However, I recognize that most people understand this. I have conversations with my Mormon friends and family who are Republican, Libertarian (you know who you are,) and Nader-ists, and the dialogue is almost always engaging, stimulating, and respectful. By their very nature, political parties are imperfect and fallible, and they don't easily lend themselves to black and white categorization... more like 50 shades of grey. So I would in turn ask the Mormons who question my faith and allegiance to the gospel because of my support for Obama: how can you so readily assume that because I'm an active and faithful Mormon that I would by necessity vote Republican?
So let's put this simplistic thinking to rest. Choosing Obama over Romney is not the same as choosing the great and spacious building over the tree of life. But don't get me wrong; I do believe that there are extremely compelling reasons to vote for Obama in 2012, and so I don't mean to trivialize the decision with the following analogy; but maybe it's more like choosing a spinach salad with feta, cranberries, and raspberry vinaigrette over an iceberg lettuce concoction from Jack in the Box. The iceberg lettuce salad has a form of healthiness, but in the end it is empty, wilted, and undeniably overpriced.
Post by Joseph M-
Santorum made a special announcement, Romney congratulated him on his failed attempt at the nomination, and we (almost officially) got a Mormon running against Obama in the 2012 election. Utah cheered, the South groaned, and people everywhere googled the words, "Romney mom jeans." (Is anyone else sad that David Horsey left for Los Angeles when the Seattle PI shut down?)
So here we go. Orrin (Orwellian) Hatch predicts the destruction of the Mormon church by Obama and the Democrats, but seeing that I am a Democrat and support Obama, I tend to yawn and disagree. Here is a link to a short article discussing Hatch's comments and their absurdity.
But the real big news of the day is this: due to all the requests for "I'm voting for Obama" bumper stickers, we have printed more, and they are on the way. I will get the link put back up, so if you'd like to pre-order that will be possible. A note of caution however: the design is a little different, but the bumper stickers do say the exact same thing. If you would like to wait - I will post the new design on the site as soon as the stickers arrive! And in case you aren't aware of the background behind the stickers- we thought they would be a fun way to express our support for Obama. We loosely based our slogan "I'm voting for Obama, and I'm a Mormon" on Phoenix Academy's new marketing campaign for new students:
So order some stickers for your friends and family to show your support for the president!