Wednesday, September 12, 2012

why mitt is "not my kind of mormon"

oh, boy.

i've debated for a week about this post, and i perhaps should have given it another week, but today i read  joanna brooks' interview with judith dushku, one of my sheroes.  dushku says almost everything i wanted to say, and better than i could, and with first hand experience to back it up, so i decided to add a few of my own thoughts, to bring out my favorite of dushku's points, and then to direct you to this interview.  it's a must-read.

here are my three favorite quotes from dushku:

1)  "I just love Mormons so much I hate to see us all represented by Mitt Romney. It reflects so badly on a religion that stands for better things."

2) "I don’t like it that we have come to be represented by a man who has no interest in a social safety net and blames those in need for being in poverty or without work. Mormons don’t believe that. He is not us."

3) "I would like for the Mormon Church not to be associated with the “war on women” because my experience is that some of the strongest and most powerful women in my circle of many friends are well-informed, active Mormon women: lawyers, writers, poets. The idea that Mitt has come to represent Mormonism makes it sound like the church has no progressive women, and I would like that misrepresentation taken away. "

and to those of you who support mitt, i'd love to hear your respectful disagreement.

in response to dushku's claim that mitt told her she was "not my kind of mormon", i'd like to share what "my kind of mormon" is, and thereby show that most of my criteria appear to be the antithesis of mitt romney:

*my kind of mormon cares about women, encourages them to speak, listens to them, attempts to understand them, and, most of all, acts affirmatively on the behalf of women to create more opportunity and equality in their lives.

*my kind of mormon is not complacent in his belief--is actively troubled and seeking greater truth and inspiration at all times.  this hearkens back to my first point, that of listening carefully to all perspectives.

*my kind of mormon stands up for what he believes in regardless of personal cost or losing a chance at political gain.  my kind of mormon is not swayed by public opinion and does not seek approbation purchased with a lack of integrity.  my kind of mormon is comfortable with being a peculiar person of peculiar faith.

*my kind of mormon does not seek or condone the seeking of wealth.

*my kind of mormon is radical in his commitment to living a life that will even out the injustices of this world.  my kind of mormon seeks to live in "zion"--mormon shorthand for a place where all things are held equally in contemporary life, and ultimately, the place where we will all live when true order is restored to the earth.

*my kind of mormon realizes that caring for the poor, the sick, and the afflicted are the most important acts a person can participate in on this earth.  my kind of mormon will enact private and public policies that ensure that as many poor, sick, and afflicted are cared for as possible.

*my kind of mormon is comfortable with the extremely radical and uncomfortable roots of mormonism--meaning that he will speak out against the mainstream when it contradicts his belief, and he will make huge sacrifices for his beliefs and for the comfort and safety of others, and he will build up a place of equality and justice under seemingly impossible circumstances.

i know.  that this is an idealistic list.  but i do know many mormon men who live up to it--probably more than i do mormon men who are like mitt.  although for the purposes of this post, i am more concerned with how he represents mormons & what kind of public policy he will enact than about his personal character.

i know.  that i myself do not live up to these ideals.  though i do strive to, and hope i can some day.

i know.  that my views do not reflect those of all or most mormons.  but this is how i interpret the original visions and scriptures put forth by joseph smith, and how i hope to see contemporary mormonism lived.

19 comments:

  1. Amen. Thanks for writing this, Lara. It needs to be said!

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    1. thanks for reading and commenting, sister sharon.

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  2. Right on, Sister Candland-Asplund!

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  3. Agreed on all points. And thanks for the link to the interview with Judith Dushku--I have been reading her since the 70s and the Exponent II days!

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    1. thanks for reading, sister bickmore.

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  4. I like the anaphoric nature of this post's structure, too. It reads like the best kind of sermon.

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    1. glad you noticed, sister. i must have been unconsciously channeling one of my heroes, the reverend martin luther king, jr.

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  5. Well, don't forget accounts like these: http://exposingliberallies.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-real-mitt-romney-not-monster-after.html

    They may not address all or even any of your talking points, but I think they're important. Also, don't forget that presidential candidates are a part of a campaign machine.

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    1. thanks for reading, michael. can't get the link to work right now, and i'm rushing to class, so i'll check this out later. i hope i didn't give the impression that i believe romney is a monster. i just want to register my opposition to policies that i feel are not in keeping with my vision for a moral society. i think it's very possible that he is sincere in his intent to make america a better place, but intent and outcomes don't always match up. i have to go with the candidate i think will produce the best outcomes.

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  6. I really liked the above link Michael. I won't be voting for Mitt Romney because he is a Latter Day Saint. I will be voting for him because I truly believe he will improve the quality of life for most of the citizens of our country. Neither President Obama nor Romney appear to be unintelligent. I do however see a major difference in the ability to lead. Mitt has the experience to bring us out of the hole we're in. Our current president only seems to know how to spend money and talk. For me the choice is clear.

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    1. I think no matter where one falls on the political spectrum (and I'm way to the LEFT of Obama and wish there were a viable third-party candidate I could vote for), I think we all have to agree that Lara wrote a heartfelt, intelligent, and thoughtful post, something that seems to rare in political discussions these days. Love you, Lara!

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    2. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jordan. I am not making my decision based on the candidate's religion or adherence to his religion either. I am mostly interested in who i think will create a more just society. I know that some people think that lower taxes equal more justice, but I can't get behind that.

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  7. I had to try and explain to the people I work for at the Treasury today how Romney fits into Mormon doctrine. It was very hard.

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    1. would love a transcript of this conversation!

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  8. My kind of Mormon believes in consecration. That's pretty much it. And girl, you're my kind. xoxoxox

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    1. you summed it up. we are asked, very explicitly and directly, to live the law of consecration right now.

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  9. Mitt the man and Mitt the presidential candidate and Mitt the Mormon are multiple people, like all of us with our varied personas. The candidate and the Mormon would, I guess, fit under the umbrella of the man, and under there you'll find Mitt the father, the friend, the business tycoon, the husband, the stake president, the owner of a house with elevators for cars (Caddies, I believe) the home teacher, and so on. Mitt the candidate scares me because the republican party scares me, and given his choice of Ryan--when he no longer really had to worry about "securing the republican base"--I've lost hope that he might at least impersonate a moderate Massachusetts governor if he won office and not immediately try to gut health care reform or any number of other roll-back-Obama pledges offered up to the gods of the republican primary season. But I'm happy enough to leave judgment of Mitt the Mormon to God.
    As for Mitt the presidential candidate, I'm happy to render judgment myself: NO. As is, NO WAY. I will not vote for the man. I will not vote for the party. I don't mind arguing with people who thoughtfully oppose my political views; I do mind the sort of lies, misconstructions of fact, and--when those tactics don't adequately deflect voter attention from substantive issues--flat out stonewalling in the face of a president and a party who are actually trying to govern a country facing genuinely chilling crises, economic and otherwise. A platform of resisting everything Obama tries to do--"Just, heck boys, hold the line and watch us halt the Greatest Threat to the Nation In A Hunnerd Years"--impresses me as the sort of racism masquerading as public policy that, particularly on election day November 2008, I'd dared hope we'd conquered. Or at least shamed from the light of the public square. Not all republicans are rabid racists; in fact, I expect most, and this includes Mitt, try to overcome racism, where they see it, in their own lives. I do so myself. Few people, I expect, do it perfectly. The problem with republicans, and it's been this way for decades now, is that they are all too happy to play to the overt racism that far too many Americans continue not just to indulge, but to found their identities upon. This kind of bottom fishing for votes is wholly unworthy of a major American political party, but consistent with the drive of a political machine primed to win at any price. And this grim political reality tastes like dirt in my mouth. I'd rather not have a man who can tolerate that taste become the most visible Mormon in the whole wide world. And I certainly don't want him becoming the world's most powerful person.

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  10. I think this is an interesting post, thanks for writing it. I do think the church is big enough to inclusive of many kinds of Mormons. I have no doubt Mitt Romney has huge gaps in him, but I'm confident he is, despite flaws, a good person and a perfectly good Mormon. That doesn't mean he would be effective as our president, those are two different things.

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