Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Good & Bad of Politics

Dick Cheney good, Joe Biden bad.

Guns bad, gun laws good.

Stimulus bad, debt good.

Obama good, Romney bad.

See any problem with this?

Well, besides the partisan inconsistency, my point is that none of these is all one or the other. My admission is that I've already decided to vote for the reelection of President Obama. But that's not because he's all good and Romney all bad. (My reasons should become apparent as you read through the postings on this blog.) It would be a perfect world if we could have the business acumen of a Romney combined with the eloquence and community skills of an Obama. But we don't have that choice.

Back to my basic life philosophy, I quote again Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (who wasn't all good himself):
"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" The Gulag Archipelalgo (Harper & Row, New York, 1973) at 168.
And this is the essential problem of humanity that religion tries to address. I'm not at all preaching relative morality - that there is no right or wrong or that it's all shades of gray. What I am promoting is my personal, religious belief that the essential question is whether we are choosing to follow the Lord or the adversary. Check out 2 Nephi 2 for some scriptural backing for the proposition. And this choice happens constantly at every moment of our conscious existence!

And here's the most important thing. Yes, there are commandments. But there is no list of all the things we are supposed to do at every given choice opportunity at every moment of the day! It is not only important what we choose but how and why we choose. We could never break a single commandment (actually, not really possible, I John 1:8) but if we go around as some kind of self-righteous enforcer, it just doesn't work. We could also be the most vile of sinners doing everything wrong in the book, but if our hearts are repentant and turn to the Lord, He will sit down and sup with us as he did with the sinners in the New Testament. Once again, I am only positing extremes that are not realistic in actual life. But the principles are valid.

Those are the religious principles, yet the political ones work as well. Mixing the two:
Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of the various political parties.  First Presidency Letter, 2012
 Remember, it's not so much what we do, but how and why we do it. The Lord looking on the heart, and all. Or that whole Charity business.

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!