Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Political Politeness

I don't usually blog about politics, and I've thought very hard about posting this, but I feel a need to say this. Right now there is such a focus on politics and people feel very deeply about their political beliefs. I don't think there's anything wrong with nice, healthy debate about issues and candidates, but I've heard too many ugly judgements about people because of their beliefs.

I read on someone's blog that her child's friend from church was told she couldn't play with her anymore because of the parents' support of Barack Obama. Someone I know who is a member of my church once said that no one that is a Democrat could be a faithful member of the church. I don't know how someone who has not lived my life can decide for me what kind of voter I should be.

I think that our political beliefs are shaped by many factors such as our culture, background, upbringing, and life experiences. All of those things have shaped who I am--a Democrat. I can't argue with someone who says that voting Republican is right for them. I don't think they are wrong; that is who is right for them. Their decision to vote Republican was shaped by all of those factors-their culture, their background, their upbringing, and their life experiences. Those are not my mine; they're theirs, and that is why for them, it's right to vote Republican. For me, it's right to vote Democrat. I believe that that is the right vote for America, but I don't expect someone else to believe the same way.

We're all different, and we've all experienced life differently. How can I say how someone should vote when I haven't lived their life and I haven't seen the world through their eyes?

I'd like to see more political politeness. Sure, let's talk about the issues, the candidates, but let's be respectful about each other. Don't say I can't be a good member of the church because I'm a Democrat. Please let my kids still play with your kids even if I support Barack Obama. And, please, please don't accuse me of drinking the purple Kool-Aid. Obama supporters are accused of not being able to see past the charm. For me, it's not just about pretty words from a pretty man. It's so much more. It's all of those factors-my culture, upbringing, background, and life experiences that have shaped who I am and why I vote this way.

I don't even like purple Kool-Aid. Red, maybe.


Amanda said...

Thank you for posting this. It's too bad we can't all be friends despite our political beliefs. I have a friend who's a democrat and she says that she refuses to even talk to anyone who's a republican. That really irked me. Same as when I read a blog a couple weeks ago that said all liberals were ignorant. Why must we lump everyone into the same category?

My friends are about half democrat and half republican. As long as they each respect my beliefs, I respect theirs (and I admit, I'm too quick to yell back when people make personal judgements on me). I think it's good to have a healthy balance - if we were all the same, it' be dangerous.

I commend you (and anyone else) for standing up for what you believe in, especially when you're a minority.

Emilia said...

Rock on, Marcia!

Danyelle Ferguson said...


I have another friend who told me her in-laws said she was a horrible member of the Church because she was going to vote for Obama. I was shocked!

Haven't members of our faith heard of free agency? The right to choose for ourselves? And are their ears stuffed with cotton when our Bishop reads the official letter from the prophet stating that we should each research the candidates, then pray, and make the choice each of us feels is best? The Church doesn't support one specific party.

While I'm not an Obama supporter, I have many friends who are. And that is their choice. So I say, you go, girl!

Tynel said...

I really appreciate your comments and think every church member needs to listen more closely as the Bishopric reads the "Our Church Does Not Support One Political Party" letter from the stand as we move into each election season! It is very sad when church members pass judgements based on political opinions!

Ericka Johnson said...

Regardless of people's political persuasion, there is never an excuse for some of the ugliness that has gone on during this election. I agree that we need more "political politeness!"

Brittany said...

I'm glad to hear then, that you probably weren't offended by my photoshopped picture of me marrying Mitt Romney. :p

Liz said...

Hi Marcia,
I'm Liz. We haven't met but I found your blog through Don Carey's.
I love this post. I've been an active Democrat for about 10 years and am very active in the church as well. While I write and speak quite freely about my political views, I do make sure that it is outside of church. I feel that if we don't choose respect and love above all else, we may end up using political parties as a way to reconfigure an "ites" mentality. One of my very favorite women that I used to visit teach was as active in the Republican party (held precinct office, donated money, etc.) as I am in the Democratic Party (I'm the vice chair of our region and I donate to candidates) and we LOVED each other! We supported each other. And we respected each other. I hope members of our church will continue to do the same. Because let's face it, we're pretty good at loving and respecting and serving.
Thanks again for the post and also for allowing me to weigh in.

Marcia Mickelson said...

Thanks, Amanda and Emilia for your support. Danielle, thanks for your comments. Because I know you're not an Obama supporter, it means that much more! Tynel- I'm really grateful for the Church's stand on politics. Ericka- Thanks. I don't like the ugliness either. Brittany-You always crack me up. Liz- Welcome. Thanks for coming by and commenting. I checked out your blog and love it! I put it under my favorites and will check it out daily.

S+S said...

I'm sorry that people have been harsh or judging to you. That is so wrong. Certainly, everyone has a right to vote who they think will be the best person to run our country. I still like you (even though I don't support Obama)! :D And I still know that you are a very good person. We love you guys!
I'm curious to know how it is being married to a republican...do you guys respect eachother's differences or this this hard?

Marcia Mickelson said...

Sarah- Thanks for liking me despite me being an Obama supporter. Nolan is not a Republican. He's moderate; right in between, I think, with a slight leaning to the right. We get along fine and completely respect the few differences in opinions we have. And, I think we agree on the one or two things that are most important to me.